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Upheaval in Albemarle 
Tie Story of Culpeper's Rebellion 


Jan, Ph. /). 


Upheaval in Albemarle, 1675-1689 
The Story of Culpeper's Rebellion 


(From The Book of Old Ships and Something of their Evolution and 
Komance. Drawn by Gordon Grant, Text by Henry B. Culver. Garden 
City, N. Y.: Garden City Publishing Co., Inc., copyright 1924, 1935. 
Courtesy of University of North Carolina Library) . 

Upheaval in Albemarle 
The Story of Culpeper's Rebellion 



Hugh F. Rankin, Ph. D. 

Associate Professor of History 
Tulane University 

A Publication of 

The Carolina Charter Tercentenary Commission 

Box 1881, Raleigh, North Carolina 


For Miss Tempie 
my favorite rebel 


Hon. Francis E. Winslow, Chairman 

Henry Belk 

Mrs. Doris Betts 

Dr. Chalmers G. Davidson 

Mrs. Everett L. Durham 

William C. Fields 

William Carrington Gretter, Jr. 

Grayson Harding 

Mrs. James M. Harper, Jr. 

Mrs. Ernest L. Ives 

Dr. Henry W. Jordan 

Mrs. Kauno A. Lehto 

James G. W. MacLamroc 

Mrs. Harry McMullan 

Dr. Paul Murray 

Dan M. Paul 

Dr. Robert H. Spiro, Jr. 

David Stick 

J. P. Strother 

Mrs. J. O. Tally, Jr. 

Rt. Rev. Thomas H. Wright 


Dr. Charles F. Carroll, 
Superintendent of 
Public Instruction 

Robert L. Stallings, 
Director, Department of 
Conservation and Development 

Dr. Christopher Crittenden, 
Director, Department of 
Archives and History, 

The Carolina Charter Tercentenary Commission was established by 
the North Carolina General Assembly to "make plans and develop 
a program for celebration of the tercentenary of the granting of the 
Carolina Charter of 166S . . ." As part of this program the Com- 
mission arranged for the publication of a number of historical 
pamphlets for use in stimulating interest in the study of North 
Carolina history during the period 1663-1763. This publication is 
part of that project. 

Raleigh, North Carolina, 1962 














Culpeper's Rebellion might well be termed "The Rise 
and Fall of 'Ye Antient County of Albemarle.' " The causes, 
the rebellion itself, and the lingering aftereffects are visible 
throughout Albemarle's history as a separate political entity. 

Putting together the story of the rebellion is somewhat 
like fitting together a mosaic, with each tile slipping into 
its proper position only after a rather extensive study of 
the mass of depositions, affidavits and petitions that make 
the bulk of the sources. Although the primary source was 
Volume I of the Colonial Records of North Carolina, it is 
sometimes difficult to determine the proper channel of events, 
as the responsible parties often handled their dates rather 
loosely and the necessary detail is often scant and contra- 

The account may appear weighted heavily on the side of 
the proprietary faction, but the majority of depositions, 
affidavits, and petitions from which the story is unravelled 
were filed by either customs officials or members of the 
proprietary faction, and it was only natural that they cast 
the most favorable light possible on their own activities. 
Among the rebels, only John Culpeper and Zachariah Gil- 
lam drew up significant statements, and it must be remem- 
bered that these two were facing a treason trial, with their 
very lives dependent upon the outcome, and they may be 
forgiven if they shaded their own story toward the side of 
the angels. 

In the quotations inserted in the text, some liberties have 
been taken. Abbreviations have often been spelled out, and 
punctuation has been added for the sake of clarity; but 
original spelling has sometimes been retained to flavor the 

The assistance and advice of William S. Powell, of the 
North Carolina Collection of the Louis R. Wilson Library 
of the University of North Carolina, is most gratefully ac- 
knowledged. Mr. Francis E. Winslow, Brigadier General 
John D. F. Phillips and Miss Lois Edinger have read the man- 
uscript and by their valuable suggestions and the mending of 
flaws, have earned my deep appreciation. And for those in- 
tangibles that are so difficult to render within the proper 
contours of gratitude, it is impossible to overlook the in- 
fluence of Professor Hugh T. Lefler of the University of 
North Carolina. It seems only natural that every student 
who has worked under Professor Lefler should come away 
saturated with a great liking for all things relative to 
colonial North Carolina. 

January 1, 1962 Hugh F. Rankin 

New Orleans, Louisiana 


The Lords Proprietors of Carolina 

Prior to 1663 the Albemarle section lay as a geographical 
and political orphan. Included in the grant of the "Province 
of Carolana" made by King Charles I in 1629 to Robert 
Heath, his Attorney-General, the colony had languished and, 
except for small settlements, had lain fallow. Carolina's first 
proprietor had discovered that the expense of colonization 
was too great for one man to bear, and his neglect increased 
after England was ripped asunder by the violent upheavals 
of a civil war. 

Despite this negligence and apparent abandonment, the 
section known as the Albemarle was not without its attrac- 
tions. It was, in the opinion of a London "Well-Wilier" in 
1649, no less than a veritable Eden, a cornucopia of "the 
naturall Commodities of the Country, which fall into your 
hands without labour or toyle, for in the obtaining of them 
you have a delightful recreation." "The Soyle," he went 
on to say, "you may trust it with anything," and it would 
yield no less than two crops a year. Six years later Francis 
Yeardley was praising the pleasant climate of a place "un- 
acquainted with our Virginia's nipping frosts," and thereby 
promising favorable harvests for those who ventured to en- 
gage in the production of silk, olives and wines for the 
London market. Even as late as 1665, after many of the 
more exuberant claims of the past had been disproved, the 
Reverend Alexander Moray wrote from Virginia describing 
the Albemarle as "being the hopefullest place in the world." 

In 1612, John Rolfe's agricultural experiments with to- 
bacco in Virginia had given the lie to Edward Sandys' decla- 
ration, "You can't build an empire on smoke." Crossing the 

2 Upheaval in Albemarle 

native weed, "poor and weak and of a biting taste," with 
the milder South American varieties, Rolfe was able to pro- 
duce a "Sweet-cented" variety that was pleasing to the taste 
of the pipe smokers of England. Within a short time, "Vir- 
ginia" tobacco was outselling the Spanish variety that had 
dominated the London market for the past fifty years. 
Tobacco became the "gold" for which the early settlers had 
so diligently searched. Indeed, this "bewitching vegetable," 
as it was sometimes called, was to become the currency of 
the southern colonies. Debts, fines, custom duties and even 
salaries were to be paid in tobacco. Fanning out from 
Jamestown, the Virginians secured the choice lands along 
the rivers, for a navigable waterway was a necessity in getting 
the crop to market. By the late 1650's, a number of adven- 
turesome men had spilled southward into the Albemarle in 
the search for fertile soil. No later than 1663 there were 
two areas of settlement, one "on the easte part of the river 
Chowan," the other "on the Larboard side entring the same 

In 1663, however, the tumult of the restoration of King 
Charles II to England's throne brought about many radical 
changes, which were reflected in England's overseas colonial 
policies. The English people, weary of austerity, the arbi- 
trary rule of Oliver Cromwell, and the hot and bitter pas- 
sions of religious upheavals, were quite willing to allow 
the slow progress of republican principles to grind to a 
halt and welcomed domestic peace and the gaiety of the 
returning monarchy. 

Carolina was to demonstrate best the changing outlook in 
colonial policy. With the exception of William Penn's "Holy 
Community" of Pennsylvania, the prime movers behind 
colonization were no longer the merchants or religious 
groups. Now they were the gentility or nobility, the friends 

The Lords Proprietors of Carolina 3 

and political supporters of Charles II and his brother James, 
the Duke of York. For this group, there was not only the 
patriotic impulse to expand the limits of the empire, but 
also a dream of profits which made the venture into coloniza- 
tion more attractive. 

Charles II, that "Merrie Monarch," who enjoyed his throne 
and entertained no urge to "go on his travels again," well 
knew that political debts must be paid. Among those to 
whom he owed much were those influential characters who 
had been instrumental in restoring his sovereignty, power- 
ful men who could make demands that the King could not 
refuse. And to this group, in 1663, was issued a new charter 
to Carolina, replacing the old Heath Charter of 1629. Sir 
Anthony Ashley-Cooper (to become the Earl of Shaftesbury 
in 1672), Chancellor of the Exchequer and known as "a man 
violent in his Passions," seems to have been the originator 
of the scheme. A son of one of the members of the Virginia 
Company of London that had planted the colony at James- 
town, Ashley-Cooper had assumed an active interest in 
colonization and as early as 1646 had invested funds in West 
Indian projects. His original companions in the Carolina 
venture were Sir John Colleton and the Governor of Vir- 
ginia, Sir William Berkeley, who was in London at this 
time. The aid of five additional and influential partners was 
enlisted to secure the charter. 

All eight Proprietors of Carolina were men of position 
and influence in 1663, and all had looked with favor upon 
colonization schemes. Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, was 
Lord High Chancellor and the King's first minister. Colle- 
ton's kinsman, George Monck, recently created the Duke of 
Albemarle, was commander of the King's army, and a tight- 
fisted old man who was always ready to listen to ways to 
increase his fortune. There was the vain, tactless and schem- 

4 Upheaval in Albemarle 

ing Lord John Berkeley, brother of Sir William, high in 
naval affairs, and a favorite of Charles II. Sir George Car- 
teret was Treasurer of the Royal Navy, a member of the 
King's Council, and Vice-Chamberlain of the Royal House- 
hold. The last member was William, the parsimonious Earl 
of Craven, an old soldier who remained high in the affec- 
tions of his King. 

Such were the men who were granted the vast territory 
that was called "Carolina," stretching along the Atlantic 
seaboard from the 31st to the 36th parallels from Virginia 
to Florida, and rolling westward to the "south seas." All of 
these men had been, and were destined to continue, instru- 
mental in the framing of imperial policy. Their names 
appear regularly as members of the Council for Trade and 
Plantations which became, in 1675, the powerful Lords of 
Trade. John Berkeley, George Carteret and Peter Colleton 
were members of the Royal African Company, chartered in 
1660 to supply Negro slaves to the American colonies. Car- 
teret and Lord John Berkeley were to become Proprietors of 
New Jersey in 1664 by virtue of a grant from the Duke of 
York. Later, the Bahama Grant of 1670 went to six of the 
Carolina Proprietors: Ashley-Cooper; Albemarle; Craven; 
John Berkeley; Carteret; and Peter Colleton, the son and 
heir to Sir John. And the Hudson Bay Company, also char- 
tered in 1670, included as members Albemarle, Craven, 
Ashley-Cooper, Carteret and Colleton. 

The future policy for Carolina, insofar as the Proprietors 
were concerned, was both simple and elastic. They planned 
to operate as little more than a real estate office offering to 
supply the ever-present land hunger of the peoples of Europe. 
They envisioned profits through the payment of annual 
dues under the medieval practice of quitrents. In addition, 
they hoped, handsome gains could be realized through the 

The Lords Proprietors of Carolina 5 

production of such scarce and desirable commodities as sugar, 
ginger, indigo, cotton, wines and whale oil. Tobacco was 
already being cropped in the area, but no great expansion 
was foreseen, for the output from Virginia and Maryland 
was already beginning to glut the English market. Well 
aware of the expenses of colonization, the Carolina Proprie- 
tors planned no great movement of people under their spon- 
sorship. They expected that judicious propaganda and the 
scarcity of land in Europe would populate their colony. The 
West Indian Island of Barbados promised a possible source 
of manpower. There the heavy concentration of already 
limited land into huge sugar plantations had gradually 
shunted the small planter off to the edge of poverty. Sir John 
Colleton himself had experienced the octopus-like strength 
of the great planters during his stay in the islands. The Albe- 
marle section seemed ideal for the plans of the Proprietors; 
partially settled when the charter was granted, its proximity 
to Virginia meant that settlers could be furnished with neces- 
sities from that thriving colony rather than be supplied by 
expensive and uncertain shipments from England. 

The Carolina Charter of 1663 endowed the Lords Proprie- 
tors with vast and extensive powers, in which lay the seeds 
of rebellion; yet these perquisites were not unique for grants 
of this era. The English reaction against republicanism and 
their willingness to rest awhile on the plateau of monarchism 
was not to make its way across the Atlantic, and within the 
next fifteen years a rash of little rebellions were to light up 
the southern colonies along the American seaboard. 

The Proprietors, granted the virtually autonomous and 
feudal powers held by the Bishop of the County Palatine of 
Durham, were in themselves an assembly of small-time mon- 
archs. Within their hands lay the lives, fortunes and destinies 
of those who settled in Carolina. For instance, it was within 

6 Upheaval in Albemarle 

their province to divide their grant into such geographical 
and political subdivisions as they pleased, to design a gov- 
ernment and judicial system, collect taxes and other levies, 
grant lands, pardon offenders against the legal code, and 
they even had the authority to create a nobility— so long as 
the titles granted did not parallel those already existing in 
England. Extensive military jurisdiction lay mostly in de- 
fensive measures, but did include the power to suppress a 
rebellion within their colony. 

These aristocratic privileges, however, were tempered with 
the imposition of certain limitations upon the activities of 
the Proprietors. The power of legislation was not ultimate 
with them, for laws could be enacted only with the "advice, 
assent and approbation of the freemen" of Carolina. In a 
like manner, it was necessary that these laws be "reasonable, 
and not repugnant or contrary" to the statutes of England. 
An additional measure of protection for the inhabitants lay 
in the extension to them of all the rights of Englishmen. 
And, possibly to prevent the religious upheaval that had 
rocked England for more than a quarter of a century, the 
Proprietors were authorized to grant religious freedom to 
all those whose theology conformed, or nearly so, to that of 
the Church of England, and which did not "in any wise 
disturb the Peace and safety thereof or scandalize or reproach 
the said Liturgy, formes and Ceremoneyes" of the Anglican 

Within months there were challenges to the claims of 
the Lords Proprietors of Carolina. Claimants to land under 
the old Heath grant began to make nuisances of them- 
selves. To counter these allegations, the eight Proprietors 
submitted a "humble request" to Charles II, soliciting an 
extension of the boundaries of their domain. The result 
was the Charter of 1665, little more than a supplement to 

The Lords Proprietors of Carolina 7 

the 1663 Charter, but expanding the limits of Carolina two 
degrees southward and one-half a degree to the northward. 
This enlargement definitely placed the Albemarle area with- 
in the jurisdiction of the Carolina Proprietors and nullified 
the claims of the Virginians to that disputed territory. 

The Proprietors dreamed grand dreams for their colony 
of Carolina. But the picture in their minds was that of a 
small kingdom arising on the shores of the New World, 
whose inhabitants gave their allegiance to the King of Eng- 
land, but whose fate would be determined by the holders of 
the Charter. Their first efforts at government seemed to be 
in the nature of probing attempts, feeling their way towards 
what they hoped would be a flourishing community under 
their benevolent rule; a community where happy and con- 
tented people produced those rare commodities that would 
demand good prices in the London market, while the Pro- 
prietors relaxed under Fortune's magnanimous smile. 

Perhaps it was because of their varied interests that the 
Proprietors appeared content to allow the management of the 
colony to be gradually assumed by Sir Anthony Ashley- 
Cooper, assisted by Sir William Berkeley whose attentions 
could be focused upon Albemarle from nearby Virginia. 
To demonstrate to the King that they "slept not with their 
grant," plans were announced for the establishment of three 
"Counties." Albemarle County was to include that area 
"which lyeth on the nort[h] east or starboard side entering 
the river Chowan." Clarendon County was to extend south- 
ward into the Cape Fear River valley, while Craven County 
was to include the territory south of Cape Romaine. 

In 1665, Sir John Yeamans led a group of Barbadians 
into the Cape Fear area, but after two years of suffering the 
plagues of shipwrecks, internal disorders and Indian 
troubles, Clarendon County was abandoned. Craven County, 

8 Upheaval in Albemarle 

eventually to become the colony of South Carolina, was not 
to experience a serious colonization effort until 1670. So it 
was that in the beginning Albemarle County served as 
nucleus of the proprietary colony of Carolina. 

Not until 1669 did the grand plans of the Proprietors 
make themselves evident in the drawing up of that aristo- 
cratic document, the Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina, 
a strange combination of feudal and liberal ideas. John 
Locke, philosopher, physician, and confidant of Ashley- 
Cooper, either wrote or collaborated with the Proprietor in 
drawing up the Fundamental Constitutions. This outline of 
government was, in the words of its authors, for the purposes 
of establishing a better government, protecting the interests 
of the Proprietors, "and that the Government of this 
Province may be most agreeable to the Monarchy under 
which we live, . . . and that we may avoid erecting a num- 
erous Democracy." 

It was, to say the least, a pompous and even cumbersome 
pattern for government, and seemed designed to obliterate 
the strides towards self-government made by the English 
peoples. Under this system, the Lords Proprietors remained 
the primary source of authority, vested in a Palatine Court 
with the eldest proprietor designated as Palatine or presid- 
ing proprietor. Each Proprietor was also eventually to main- 
tain his own feudal court in Carolina. Until such time as 
this plan became effective, Proprietors were represented in 
the government of the colony through designated deputies, 
each Proprietor retaining the right to name a deputy to work 
with the governor and a "Parliament" as the ruling force in 

This throwback to a semi-medieval civilization planned a 
division of Carolina into counties, signories, baronies, pre- 
cincts, and colonies, with its nobility, based on land tenure,. 

The Lords Proprietors of Carolina 9 

bearing titles ranging from Palatine to Landgrave and 
Cacique. Two-thirds of the land was to be held by the 
Proprietors and this colonial aristocracy, the remainder to 
be worked by the lower classes. Great manors, worked by 
"leet men," were to be the hub of this feudal pattern. Yet 
the Fundamental Constitutions did maintain such vital hu- 
man privileges as trial by jury, religious toleration, and the 
recording of vital statistics in addition to a regular legisla- 
ture of the people or their representatives. 

Albemarle was no longer an isolated outpost of coloniza- 
tion, but there was little to indicate its people considered 
themselves in a more favorable position. 


Ye County of Albemarle 

Although the Carolina Charter of 1663 had stated the 
colony to be little more than a wilderness, "not yet culti- 
vated or planted, and only inhabited by some barbarous 
people, who have no knowledge of Almighty God," the Albe- 
marle area was not unknown to the white settler. Since 1653, 
and possibly earlier, people had been trickling into the area, 
some of them having received land grants from the Gover- 
nor of Virginia. The earliest land grant on record, however, 
was made to George Durant in 1661 in what is now Per- 
quimans County. By 1663, there may have been as many as 
2,000 persons, and perhaps more, scattered along both banks 
of the Chowan. 

This flat land of sandy soil, covered with "great forests 
of Pynes," was laced with sluggish streams, with the Chowan 
providing a watery highway into the interior. Great expanses 
of drowned lands, "horrendhous Swamps belly-deep of Tar 
Coulered Water," straggled along the fringes of the high 
ground. It was a young country, a place where people were 
on the move, and no great plantation houses arose to grace 
the land. The business of hacking a home out of the wilder- 
ness was far too difficult to permit the delicacies of elegant 

Other problems faded into insignificance when contrasted 
with the difficulties of communication. Between Albemarle 
and its elder neighbor, Virginia, the terrain was so cluttered 
with a jungle of swamp, cloying forests, and lazily meander- 
ing streams that it was not only difficult to travel overland, 
but well nigh impossible to transport goods. Isolated by 
geography, Albemarle's one salvation lay in water carriage, 

Ye County of Albemarle 


1 it % 


"A Generall Mapp of CAROLINA. Describeing its Sea Coast and 
Rivers," made about 1672 by Richard Blome for the Proprietors. The 
original is in the British Museum. Note the arms of the eight Proprie- 
tors. Note also the small numerals inscribed along the coast line in- 
dicating the depth in feet of the water in that vicinity. Courtesy of 
North Carolina Department of Archives and History). 

12 Upheaval in Albemarle 

but here again nature had been unkind. The inlets into the 
shallow waters of Albemarle Sound were often clogged with 
shifting sand bars that forbade the entrance of large ocean- 
going vessels. It was, in fact, a "coastal back-woods." 

The land was good. Products of the earth flourished in 
the mixture of sand and heavy humus, fertile enough to be 
described in 1707 as "soyle . . . more lusty than [that of] 
South Carolina." Both corn and wheat grew well. Cattle and 
swine thrived, and the animals of the forests— beaver, otter, 
fox, deer and wild cat— furnished skins. The tall pines were 
generous with the tar and pitch so wanted by naval interests, 
while the ground itself yielded the herbs, including "saxa- 
fras," so desired as "druggs" by the apothecaries of Europe. 

Despite the bounties of nature, agricultural interests 
continued to center on tobacco; Albemarle, it was claimed, 
produced ''tobacco as good as that of Virginia." Already, 
however, the markets were saturated, and prices plummeted 
downward as the supply exceeded the demand. Still the Albe- 
marle planters concentrated on the weed. Scant heed was 
paid to the urgings of the Proprietors, to whom the cultiva- 
tion of sugar cane, ginger, indigo and cotton seemed not only 
desirable, but more profitable. Both the Proprietors of Caro- 
lina and Maryland had, in fact, seriously considered a cessa- 
tion of tobacco planting in their colonies in 1664. Such a 
curtailment, however, was felt to be inexpedient, not only 
because of the hardships imposed upon the people, but any 
decrease in customs receipts meant a reduction in the reve- 
nues of the Crown. They could only hold out certain en- 
couragements for crop diversification, including provisions 
that all hemp, tar and pitch exported from Carolina would be 
allowed to pass through English customs duty free. 

But the people of Albemarle were a stubborn lot, to be 
later accused by the Lords Proprietors "as a people that 

Ye County of Albemarle 13 

neither understood your own nor regarded our Interests." 
They planted tobacco in such quantities as they pleased, 
and were not above flouting the law if the occasion seemed 
profitable. And English law worked against their interests. 
The Navigation Acts of 1660, 1661 and 1663, primarily in- 
tended to thwart Dutch traders, worked a particular hardship 
on the tobacco colonies. These acts required that all colonial 
trade be carried in English ships, while all European goods 
destined for the colonies had to be first landed in England 
before transshipment to America. Certain enumerated arti- 
cles, including tobacco, could be landed only in England. 
This had been an ambitious restriction on the part of the 
mother country, for English ships could not handle the en- 
tire trade. With the elimination of Dutch competition, the 
sea-farers of New England slipped in to fill the vacuum. And 
they were not above scheming with the colonists to bring 
in European goods as well as taking away their tobacco with- 
out the payment of British customs. 

Factions were present among the people of Albemarle. 
When the Proprietors instructed Governor Berkeley of Vir 
ginia to send a governor into the Albemarle, they suggested 
that perhaps it might be well to appoint two such officials, 
for it was their understanding that the settlements on either 
side of the river were at odds with each other because of 
religious differences. Religious toleration had early become 
an underlying cause of dissension in the colony. Although it 
had been intended that the Anglican Church be formally 
established in Carolina, other sects opposed the idea for fear 
that a tax-supported church could lead only to the imposition 
of tithes and additional taxes for its upkeep. Later, in 1704, 
one observer noted the religious divisions in Carolina: the 
Quakers, powerful foes of the Anglicans; an irreligious group, 
who would be Quakers if they were not required to lead the 

14 Upheaval in Albemarle 

strict moral life demanded by the Society of Friends; and 
an unclassified number "something like Presbyterians," the 
leaders of whom were "some idle fellows, who preach and 
baptize through the country." Despite the stress placed on 
the establishment of the Church of England as a state-sup- 
ported institution, as late as 1670 there was no Anglican 
minister in Albemarle. Eventually, the passage of a law 
allowing the Governor and members of his Council the 
authority to perform the marriage ceremony became 

The Quakers, perhaps fearing religious harassment, were 
among those groups involved in the struggle for political 
power. But the strongest group of politicians included those 
who had first settled the area and who had gained prestige 
and a degree of personal wealth through the passage of time. 
Included in this clique were George Durant, John Jenkins, 
Samuel Pricklove, Caleb Calleway, John Harvey, Thomas 
Jarvis, Richard Foster, John Willoughby, James Blount and 
Valentine Bird. 

Almost from the beginning of formal government in 
Albemarle there was friction. The first executive of any 
description was Samuel Stephens, appointed by the Council 
of Virginia as "commander of the southern plantation," in 
1662. It seems, however, that Stephens was little more than 
a deputy for Virginia's Governor Berkeley. After the grant- 
ing of the Charter in 1663, the Proprietors had placed the 
establishment of formal government into the hands of Sir 
William Berkeley, and his instructions outlined the pattern 
of government they envisioned for Albemarle. He was dele- 
gated authority "to nominate, constitute and appoynt such 
persons as he shall conceive fitting to be and contineu Gov- 
ernor, ... he behaveing himself well." In addition to a gov- 
ernor, Berkeley was to appoint six "fitting persons" as a 

Ye County of Albemarle 15 

Council to assist in government as well as aid in the selec- 
tion of all military and civil positions other than Surveyor 
and Secretary of the Colony. The Governor and his Council, 
"with the consent of the freeholders," or their delegates, were 
cautioned "to make good and wholesome lawes, ordnances 
and constitutions for the better Government and good of the 
Collony." All such laws were to be transmitted to the Lords 
Proprietors within one year for either their "rattification" or 

As the first real governor of Albemarle, Berkeley selected, 
in October, 1664, William Drummond, "a sober Scotch gen- 
tleman of good repute," who had lived in Virginia since be- 
fore 1654. Drummond served for three years. During his 
term of office he participated, in 1666, in a conference at St. 
Mary's, the capital of Maryland, with representatives of 
Virginia and Maryland to consider the possible control of 
tobacco prices. Drummond and Surveyor-General Thomas 
Woodward, "being ye Legislative power of ye said County 
for ye time being," agreed to a suspension of tobacco plant- 
ing in Virginia, Maryland and Albemarle from February 
1667 to February 1668. The creation of an artificial shortage, 
they hoped, would increase the demand and, in turn, the 
price of the next year's crop. Although delayed by an Indian 
uprising, Drummond managed to persuade his legislative 
body to pass a law agreeing to such an interruption in the 
harvest. The plan fell through, however, when Lord Balti- 
more, the Proprietor of Maryland, refused to sanction the 

Drummond's successor was by appointment of the Pro- 
prietors, although it is not unlikely that it was upon 
Berkeley's recommendation. The same Samuel Stephens 
who had been named "commander of the southern planta- 
tion" in 1662, and who was known to Berkeley as a "mild 

16 Upheaval in Albemarle 

gent.," was named Governor of Albemarle in 1667. Govern- 
ment in Albemarle assumed a more definite pattern in 
Stephens' instructions from the Proprietors. Stephens, aided 
by his Council and with their consent, was allowed almost 
complete control over the executive branch of the govern- 
ment. His Council, which could be no fewer than six, could 
be expanded to twelve if he felt the increase to be necessary. 
And now the freemen of "each respective denizen, tribe or 
parish," were to gather every January 1 to elect delegates to 
the General Assembly. These delegates, along with the Gov- 
ernor and his Council, were to compose the body of this leg- 

Stephens did not govern a happy people. Land tenure gave 
rise to grumbling, especially when just across the border in 
Virginia the annual quitrent amounted to only one farthing 
an acre, payable in produce. In Albemarle the sum due each 
year was a half-penny an acre and payable only in coin. This 
inequity, wrote Surveyor-General Thomas Pollard, was a 
great factor in discouraging prospective settlers from Vir- 
ginia, "it bein land only they come for." In reply to such 
complaints and arguments the Proprietors, on May 1, 1668, 
issued the document that was to become known as the Great 
Deed of Grant. Henceforth, they promised, the inhabitants 
of Albemarle would hold their lands "upon the same terms 
and conditions that the Inhabitants of Virginia held theirs." 

The General Assembly passed certain statutes in 1669 
designed to attract new settlers to the colony. Those con- 
cessions, felt attractive to newcomers, included a one-year 
tax exemption and a five-year protection against law suits. 
Land holdings were restricted, while "Strangers from other 
parts" (Virginia) were prohibited from entering Albe- 
marle "to truck and trade with the Indians." 

Internal strife continued to mark domestic affairs in Albe- 

Ye County of Albemarle 17 

marie. There were the "many & various Comotions, dis- 
orders & irregularities" that are always present in a young 
and weak government. The amiable Stephens was not the 
strong figure needed at such a time and invited disrespect; 
"some were so Insolent as to draw their Swords against him." 
And Sir William Berkeley later was to censure one unnamed 
rabblerouser "who gave soe ill an example of offering vio- 
lence and indignityes" to the Governor of Albemarle. Some- 
time before March 7, 1670, Governor Stephens sickened and 
died. By July his widow, the former Frances Culpeper, had 
become the second wife of Sir William Berkeley. 

Stephens's successor fared little better, though he managed 
to quiet emotions that were veering dangerously near the 
boiling point. Young Peter Carteret was a distant kinsman 
(fourth cousin) of the Proprietor, Sir George Carteret, and 
his brother Philip was to serve as Governor of New Jersey 
from 1665 to 1682. Appointed Assistant Governor and Secre- 
tary of Albemarle in December, 1664, Peter Carteret landed 
in the colony February 23, 1665. 

Carteret's life followed more closely that of a farmer than 
that of the traditional picture of an executive. Indeed, his 
years in Albemarle illustrate rather graphically the lives of 
the early Carolina settlers. In addition to his governmental 
duties, he was charged with the operation of the plantation 
on Colleton Island, which in 1665 consisted of little more 
than some cleared land, "a 20 foot dwelling howse [and] a 
10 foot hogg howse." For the next seven years the Assistant 
Governor of Albemarle grubbed in the soil, at times ap- 
proaching dangerously near to starvation. After two years, 
prospects had been bright, the crop yield was promising, 
although Carteret's new eighty-foot "hogg howse" could not 
prevent at least one-third of his swine from dying. 

The plagues of Albemarle rivaled those visited upon 

18 Upheaval in Albemarle 

ancient Egypt. On August 27, 1667, a hurricane ripped 
through the colony just at harvest time. The following year 
the burning, bright sun of a drought crisped the crops until 
July 30. Then nature, in one of her more capricious mo- 
ments, opened her Heavens to soak the parched earth with 
rain until the last of August, thereby doing more damage 
than had the long dry spell. Misery compounded itself when 
on August 2, 1669, in the midst of the tobacco harvest, 
another violent hurricane brought ruin. And just four days 
more than a year later, on August 6, 1670, the winds rose to 
new heights as still another hurricane levelled crops and 
houses. Even the whale oil industry, which Carteret had been 
developing with some success, fell off, for in 1669 the mam- 
mals no longer came in close to the shore. 

Such was the situation when Stephens died. Carteret could 
have entertained little happiness when the Council, on 
March 10, 1670, confirmed him as governor of an area where 
"it hath pleased God of his providence to Inflict Such a 
Generall calamitie upon the inhabitans of these countreys 
that for Severall yeares they have Nott Injoyed the fruitts 
of their Labours." Albemarle had reached the bitter edge 
of poverty and famine. The Virginians were of little help; 
instead they took advantage of the situation and raised corn 

Early in Carteret's administration came the first word of 
the Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina, which, declared 
the Proprietors, "Shall be unalterable." The flame was fan- 
ned, as murmurings crept among the people that within this 
new frame of government lay the germs for a self-erected 
aristocracy, with the general population reduced to little 
more than the level of feudal serfs. An additional cause for 
apprehension lay in the information that a new colony was 
to be seated in the southern part of Carolina, and destined to 

Ye County of Albemarle 19 

become the primary center of government. This alone was 
enough to give rise to the fear that soon Albemarle would 
revert to its former status of isolation. And, the Proprietors 
went on, the colony "will never be in a happy & safe posture" 
until towns were established. 

The Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina, however, 
with its systems of courts and councils, could never become 
workable until a nobility was created. And although the 
people were assured they were to have a voice in the govern- 
ment, as required in the Charter, the Proprietors maintained 
a check on their legislative programs through the appoint- 
ment of deputies to represent them on the Grand Council. 
And it was the Grand Council, not the Assembly made up of 
representatives of the people, who retained the right to pro- 
pose, or initiate, all legislation. 

The Great Deed of Grant of 1668, despite its surface ap- 
pearance as a liberal concession, proved rather empty in ap- 
plication. Rents upon some occasions were raised back to 
their old level of one-half penny an acre. The news of the 
Fundamental Constitutions, framed within a medieval struc- 
ture, seemed only to confirm the persistent rumors that 
quitrents were to be eventually raised to as high as six pence 
per acre. 

Discontent was so evident in early 1672 that the Council 
felt it necessary that Governor Carteret and his Assistant, 
John Harvey, travel to England to lay their grievances 
before the Proprietors. Heading the lists of complaints 
contained in a letter dripping with words of respectful sub- 
mission, was the request that quitrents be again lowered 
until they were consistent with those of Virginia. And the lay- 
ing out of land in 10,000 acre plots as outlined in the Funda- 
mental Constitutions the Council considered to be both 
impracticable and a deterrent to future settlement. Moreover, 

20 Upheaval in Albemarle 

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"Instructions for the Hono ble Peter Carteret Esq r Govern 1- and Coman- 
der in Cheife of the County of Albemarle and M r John Harvey his 
assistant:" April 27, 1672. Original in North Carolina Department of 
Archives and History. 

Ye County of Albemarle 21 

they feared it would encourage contempt for the law. There 
were proposals that the Proprietors furnish some aid in the 
establishment of the towns they had urged so strongly. And, 
it was added, it would aid considerably if the Proprietors 
would furnish arms and ammunition to the settlers. Included 
in this petition were suggestions concerning the property 
rights of children who had arrived in the colony as inden- 
tured servants, as well as several other changes to be made 
in the present conditions of land tenure. 

Somewhat apologetic about the straightforward manner 
in which they presented their grievances, the Council ex- 
plained they felt this approach to be "more Christianlicke 
than by fawninge & disemblinge pretences." They included 
a warning against "the Juglinge devices & Stratagemes" of 
those in Virginia who were attempting to bring Albemarle 
within the jurisdiction of that colony and who were already 
discriminating against Carolina tobacco being shipped 
through Virginia ports. The unrest in Albemarle was in- 
dicated in the warning that there were factions within who 
were undermining the confidence of the people "by making 
mole hills mountaines of Discouradgments." 

The Council explained that Carteret, "by whose prudence 
and Integrity God hath blessed us since receiving that 
charge," was being dispatched to London, accompanied by 
Harvey, for this personal representation would be almost 
"as if wee had had ye conveneince & happiness to have 
Spoken Man by Man to your Lordshipps." Before his de- 
parture Carteret issued to John Jenkins, President of the 
Council and Lieutenant-Colonel of the Albemarle militia, a 
commission endowing him with all of the power of Governor. 
By early June the two agents of Albemarle were in New 
York awaiting passage to England. But on July 11, 1672, 
John Harvey, pressed by "more than Ordinaire accident 

22 Upheaval in Albemarle 

& Occasion of busisynes," found it necessary to return home, 
leaving Carteret to shoulder alone the burden of presenting 
the Council's grievances before the Proprietors. 

Carteret entertained the hope that he would eventually 
return to Albemarle as the colony's secretary, but he never 
did. Much has been made of Peter Colleton's statement that 
Carteret had fled Carolina, "having left ye Government 
there in ill order & worse hands." This unwarranted accusa- 
tion seems to have been an attempt by the Proprietors to 
justify their own neglect and shortcomings in the develop- 
ment of Albemarle and to brand Carteret as the goat for 
all of the later troubles and unrest in Albemarle. Unless the 
Council was masking its own sentiments in weasel words, 
their address to the Proprietors spoke of "ye goodness of 
our Governor." In addition, they implied that it was Car- 
teret's "prudence" and "Integrity" that had given Albe- 
marle "more unity & tranquility than ever before." In 
Carteret's defense, it should likewise be remembered that in 
addition to his executive position, he was charged with the 
responsibility of making a financial success of Colleton Is- 
land. Similarly, he was under constant pressure not only to 
develop the whaling industry, but to promote the more 
exotic and profitable products of sugar, silk, and vineyards. 

Nevertheless, the Albemarle of Peter Carteret was a sim- 
mering cauldron of unhappy people, dissatisfied with their 
present and apprehensive of their future. In such a situation 
the seeds of discontent and rebellion can always find fertile 


Unrest in Albemarle 

Time served only to lengthen tensions already stretched 
near the snapping point. By 1675 the nearly 4,000 settlers 
scattered throughout the four precincts of Albemarle— Per- 
quimans, Pasquotank, Currituck, and Chowan— were so ir- 
ritated by vexations and resentment that they began to align 
themselves into proprietary and anti-proprietary factions. 
Those who led the anti-proprietary group included the oldest 
and most prominent persons of the county— John Jenkins, 
John Willoughby, George Durant, Richard Foster, William 
Crawford, Robert Holden, Thomas Jarvis, James Blount, 
John Harvey, and Valentine Bird— most of whom were serv- 
ing, or had served, as members of the Governor's Council, 
and some of whom had been appointed proprietary depu- 

Resentment had grown out of the feeling that the Proprie- 
tors were neglecting Albemarle with the devotion of their 
energies to the Ashley River settlement, and cast their eyes 
upon the northern colony only in moments of crisis. And al- 
though giving lip service to the principle of self-rule, the 
appointment of proprietary deputies had lent the impression 
of a steadily-increasing curtailment of privileges. Little 
things clung together to provoke a sullenness of spirit. For 
instance, all products of the whaling industry, promising 
additional income to industrious settlers, were, under the 
Fundamental Constitutions, restricted to the Lords Proprie- 
tors. With the realization that they were subject to the 
whims of a group of men in London who showed no inclina- 
tion to familiarize themselves with their problems, the 
people of Albemarle became unhappy with a fluid situa- 

24 Upheaval in Albemarle 

tion that could eventually deprive them of their rights and 

The neighboring colony of Virginia, priding herself upon 
her status as a royal colony, looked down with ill-concealed 
contempt upon the proprietary stepchildren of Albemarle. 
The area, claimed the Virginians, was little more than a 
refuge for "thieves," "pirates," fleeing criminals and run- 
away servants. And to protect their own planters, the Vir- 
ginia House of Burgesses were placing restrictions upon the 
shipment of Albemarle tobacco through her ports. 

To complicate the situation even more, the shallow waters 
of Albemarle Sound limited the size of ships entering the 
colony. It was only natural that, shackled by geography and 
the restrictions of Virginia, the people of Albemarle turn 
to smuggling as the answer to their commercial problems. 
The coastal traders of New England, whose shallow draft 
sloops and ketches could slide across the sand bars blocking 
the inlets, opened a profitable, though illegal, trade with 
the Carolina planters. Tobacco, some shipped in hogsheads, 
was carried in these light vessels to Boston and other north- 
ern ports, there to be transshipped in larger vessels to Scot- 
land, Ireland, Holland, France, and Spain. John Liscomb, 
Joseph Winslow, Zachariah Gillam, Joshua and Caleb Lamb 
of Massachusetts, along with Mordecai Bowden of Rhode 
Island, became the half-dozen New England sea captains who 
gained control of the tobacco trade of Albemarle. This, in 
turn, not only defeated the purpose of the Navigation Acts, 
but gave rise to some alarm for the decreasing revenues of 
the Crown through the loss of customs duties. 

The Plantation Duty Act, passed by Parliament in 1673, 
was designed to curb these infractions. Under this statute, 
ships clearing one colonial port for another, were to pay prior 
to sailing the customs duties on all enumerated articles (on 

Unrest in Albemarle 25 

tobacco amounting to one penny per pound). Collectors of 
the Customs in the colonies were to be held directly respon- 
sible to the Commissioners of the Customs in London. And 
in November, 1673, warrants bearing the signature of 
Charles II were dispatched to all colonial governors, direct- 
ing them to appoint local customs officials, namely a Surveyor 
of Customs and a Collector. 

John Jenkins, as acting Governor of Albemarle, seems to 
have ignored this warrant until pressures from England 
forced his hand in 1675. In that year commissions for two 
men by the names of Copeley and Birch arrived. If these 
appointees were not in the colony at this time, and apparently 
they were not, Jenkins was directed to name his own selec- 
tions. Timothy Biggs, late of the Ashley River settlement 
and a Quaker, was appointed to the post of Surveyor. The 
more significant post of Collector went to Valentine Bird, 
a member of the Council. 

Apparently neither Jenkins nor Bird had any intention 
of actually collecting customs duties, for Bird never turned 
in so much as a farthing to the Treasury. By the time he 
was replaced, it was charged that he was in arrears some- 
thing like 150,000 pounds of tobacco supposed to have been 
collected as customs during his tenure of office. Even then 
the appointment of Bird, or any other Collector for that mat- 
ter, was opposed by William Crawford, a member of his own 
political faction. Crawford, under pressure from the Massa- 
chusetts traders, and himself described as a New England 
man, issued a vigorous protest. Taking his case to the people, 
Crawford shrewdly pointed out that if the one-penny duty 
was collected, the New England ship captains had threatened 
to double the prices of the goods they brought in. With the 
spread of this rumor, the Albemarlians became "very mu- 
tunous & reviled," issuing dark threats against those members 

26 Upheaval in Albemarle 

of the Council who felt that such an appointment should 
be made. They remained sulky even after the appointment 
of Bird, an outspoken member of the anti-proprietary party. 

Indian troubles increased tension. The "Chowonoc" 
Indians, restless since Sir William Berkeley had sent an 
expedition against them in 1648, took up the war hatchet 
in 1675. Although the uprising was put down "by God's 
assistance though not without loss of many men," the terror 
it had generated left a nervous and apprehensive populace. 
Because of this crisis and, perhaps, the threats of the New 
England traders to abandon the colony during the uprising, 
the anti-proprietary faction persuaded Jenkins to remit three 
farthings of the one penny a pound customs duties— which 
they probably did not pay anyway. 

Thomas Eastchurch, Speaker of the Assembly and Sur- 
veyor-General under the Proprietors who, along with the 
twenty-nine year old Thomas Miller, an "Apothecary," was 
a leader of the proprietary party, saw in the unhappy spirits 
of the people an opportunity to strengthen his own position. 
Eastchurch had been for some time harassed by his political 
enemies. In 1671 he had penned an angry letter to Carteret, 
protesting the vandalism of those who, claiming he was in- 
debted to them, broke into his home "and otherwise made 
spoyle of my estate." Eastchurch and the proprietary party 
gained strength following an appeal of Virginia officials to 
the King to return Albemarle to that colony where, the 
Virginians held, it rightfully belonged, and where it had 
been before the Charter of 1665. Not only would such a 
move jeopardize land titles issued under the Proprietors, 
but if this appeal were granted, the anti-proprietary party 
would be maintained in power. 

In opposition, acting Governor John Jenkins had the sup- 
port not only of George Durant, probably the most powerful 

Unrest in Albemarle 27 

single political figure in Albemarle, but also of John Cul- 
peper, a man who seemed to thrive on schemes, plots and 
internal turmoil. Of a gentle family, he is believed to 
have been the brother of Frances Culpeper Stephens, the 
wife of Sir William Berkeley. Coming from the island of 
Barbados in 1671, he had landed in Charleston, bearing 
a commission from the Lords Proprietors as Surveyor- 
General of the southern settlement and addressed "To our 
Trusty and well beloved John Culpeper gent." Considered 
a very able artist, Culpeper had drawn several maps of the 
Ashley River. In 1672 he had become a member of the 
Assembly but, according to Colleton, had fled to Albemarle 
"from South Carolina where he was in danger of hanging 
for laying the designe Sc endeavouring to sett the poor people 
to plunder the rich." 

At a meeting in July, 1675, at the house of Governor 
Jenkins, he and Culpeper plotted to strike at the Eastchurch 
faction through Thomas Miller. Miller, not known as a 
person of tact, had a penchant for speaking his mind with- 
out thought to the consequences, and it was not difficult to 
bring charges against him for uttering treasonable sentiments. 
Among those statements attributed to his loose tongue was 
that the Cavalier supporters of King Charles I had been 
"the veriest rogues." In a like manner he had spoken dis- 
respectfully of the Lords Proprietors, declaring them to be 
"turned fooles or sotts." Not only had the morals of the 
present King been questioned, but his ability as a sovereign 
had been doubted, with Miller declaring that in times of 
stress he would never give up his life for a King who led his 
subjects into so many unrighteous causes. And, or so the 
depositions stated, on November 18, 1675, "at the instigation 
of the Devil," Miller had, in a "most Atheisticall & Blasphe- 

28 Upheaval in Albemarle 

mous manner," declared that the sacrament of the Lord's 
Supper held little meaning for him. 

Culpeper brought the charges against Miller before Magis- 
trate John Nixon, himself a proprietary man. Nixon, com- 
menting that this one bit of evidence was not sufficient to 
convict a man, rather airily dismissed the case with the ob- 
servation that Miller "Would allways be talking of such 
matters." Despite this, additional witnesses were summoned 
and Miller arrested on a formal indictment brought by 
George Durant, the Attorney-General. 

Jenkins next attempted to muzzle Eastchurch, a move 
which was calculated to allow him to dispatch an appeal to 
England for betterment of the "deplorable situation" in 
Albemarle. His first step was to order the dissolution of the 
Assembly, but that legislative body, under the tight control 
of Speaker Eastchurch, refused to disband. Turning against 
the Governor, the proprietary element drew up charges 
against Jenkins, accusing him of trying to undermine the 
Proprietors' interests, in addition to "several misdemeanors." 
Voted out of office, Jenkins was placed in confinement. 

Eastchurch's heavy hand fell upon several others of the 
malcontents. Captain John Willoughby, a judge described as 
arbitrary and a man possessed of "a natural habit of pride 
or ambition," was among those selected for the Speaker's 
vengeance. It was important that Willoughby's influence be 
dimmed, for he was a good politician, courteous to those 
of lower rank, but only, claimed the proprietary faction, be- 
cause he was "factious and would be popular." When East- 
church would have appealed the Albemarle situation to 
the Proprietors, Willoughby scornfully dismissed the pro- 
prietary faction with the observation that the Assembly felt 
"That they were the Court of Courts and Jury of Juries." 
His angry words implied that they were little more than an 

Unrest in Albemarle 29 

extra-legal body from whom no justice could be expected. 
For his contempt, the judge was summoned before the pro- 
prietary deputies, sitting as a Palatine Court. He taunted 
them by ignoring their edict. And when a constable was 
dispatched to fetch Willoughby before them, he set upon the 
representative of the law and gave him a sound thrashing. 
Eastchurch thereupon outlawed Captain Willoughby, and 
persuaded the Assembly to place a price on his head as the 
fugitive fled into Virginia. 

Although Culpeper seems to have remained in Albemarle, 
others of the anti-proprietary faction soon joined Willoughby 
in Virginia. Captain Thomas Cullen, accused of selling 
firearms to Indians not friendly to the English, slipped across 
the border to escape trial before a hostile court. Patrick 
White, member of the Assembly from Chowan precinct, 
joined Willoughby in insulting the proprietary faction by 
appealing to Governor Berkeley and his Virginia Council 
rather than submitting his grievances to London. 

In Virginia, they met with only "discountenance" from 
Governor Berkeley, who at this time was himself burdened 
with the rebellious faction headed by Nathaniel Bacon. And 
for some undisclosed reason, among those opposing Sir Wil- 
liam was Robert Holden, the Secretary of Albemarle, whose 
name was later included in the list of warrants issued against 
the "most iminent Rebels." 

There was still the question of Thomas Miller. Inasmuch 
as the charges brought against him were of a treasonable 
nature, and the government of Albemarle floundering in a 
state near turmoil, it was thought best to send him to Vir- 
ginia. There, Governor Berkeley, as a Proprietor, could 
determine the issue. Under an armed guard, Miller was 
escorted to Virginia, followed by John Culpeper as the 
principal complaining witness. Berkeley, to whom Miller 

30 Upheaval in Albemarle 

had made himself obnoxious in the past, brought him before 
the Council who acquitted the prisoner from Albemarle. 
And, according to one witness, after the investigation, John 
Culpeper was seen frequently in the company of Miller 
before the latter sailed for London in the Constant in late 
July. Culpeper apparently remained in Jamestown for the 
time being rather than return to Albemarle. Eastchurch 
also soon sailed for England to report the situation, and the 
anti-proprietary faction, wishing to have their story presented 
to the Proprietors, sent George Durant on a similar mission. 

It is not surprising that the reports of Eastchurch and 
Miller found more favor with the Proprietors than did that 
of Durant. Eastchurch's firm control over the legislature, the 
Proprietors felt, would be more effective in remedying the 
two great failings in Albemarle: the loose operations of the 
New England traders; and the failure to promote the south- 
ward expansion of Albemarle. A strong governor, they 
reasoned, would be able to control those leaders of the 
colony who feared a southern expansion would disrupt their 
lucrative trade with the Indians. 

To cure these evils, and upon the recommendation of an 
influential relative, Lord Thomas Clifford, the Lord High 
Treasurer, who endorsed him as a "Gentn of good fame," 
and "a very discreet and worthy man," Thomas Eastchurch 
was issued a commission as Governor of Albemarle. As a 
subordinate, Thomas Miller was given a dual appointment 
as Secretary of the Colony and Collector of the Customs. 
Eastchurch's instructions, possibly because of the unrest then 
prevalent in both Virginia and Albemarle, were the most 
liberal and conciliatory yet issued by the Proprietors. In- 
cluded were provisions calculated to make the unsettled area 
south of the Chowan more attractive to prospective settlers. 
An effort was to be made to placate the Chowan Indians by 

Unrest in Albemarle 31 

offering them a meassre of protection from the abuses of the 
white man. Justice for all was to be administered to "best 
secure the antient and native rights of Englishmen," and in 
such a fashion that "it may neither be tedious, troublesome 
nor chargeable for men of prudence and of estates ... to 
venture themselves in any place where liberty and property 
are not well received." And to better control the illegal 
trade, three port towns were to be established and designated 
as the only areas where goods could be loaded or unloaded, 
"it beinge a certain Beggary to our people of Albemarle if 
they should buy goods at 2d hand and soe much dearer than 
they may be supply'd from England." 

Prior to the departure of Eastchurch and Miller in the 
early summer of 1677, George Durant was given the op- 
portunity to register the complaints of his faction before the 
Proprietors. With anger and boldness Durant declared that 
Thomas Eastchurch should never become Governor of Albe- 
marle, and if the Proprietors insisted in their intention of 
issuing him a commission then he, Durant, would "turn 

Eastchurch and Miller cruised leisurely back to Albemarle, 
their vessel making a stop at Nevis in the West Indies. And 
there, as it so often does, love complicated the future. The 
roving eyes of Eastchurch "lighting upon a woman that was 
[of] a considerable fortune, [he] took hold of the oppor- 
tunity [and] marryed her." The newly appointed Governor 
of Albemarle lingered in Nevis, enjoying his honeymoon. 
To perform the functions of government, Miller was sent on 
ahead. His commission as President of the Council, issued by 
Eastchurch, allotted him "very full and ample powers," and, 
in effect, gave him all the powers of governor until the 
arrival of the bridegroom. This was in itself an illegal move, 
for it was the right of the Council to elect their president, 

32 Upheaval in Albemarle 

and not within the appointive authority of the Governor. 

Already harboring plans to apply more stringently new 
methods for the regulation of smuggling, Miller journeyed 
to Bermuda. On that island he met Solomon Summers, a 
London shipwright who owned a small shallop, the Success. 
Visualizing this as a possible revenue boat, Miller refitted 
the vessel, and hired on a crew at his own expense. Around 
the middle of July, 1677, the Success sailed for Albemarle. 
On board was Thomas Miller; his destination— Rebellion! 


Rebellion in Albemarle 

As the Success dropped her anchor in Albemarle Sound, 
Albemarle seemed to have lost much of its zest for turbu- 
lence. Yet tempers still seethed beneath the surface. When 
it became known that Miller was the new Customs Collector, 
he was subjected to "great abuse & affronts" by a number of 
the more belligerent inhabitants. Valentine Bird appeared 
more than reluctant to relinquish the post of Collector. Mil- 
ler claimed this was because Bird feared he would be held 
accountable for his arrears in collections. There was also 
a near brawl with Richard Foster, who had been appointed 
a deputy collector by Bird, and who was considered by many 
of the anti-proprietary faction to be "their cheefe Judge." 
When Miller came in Foster's home, boasting of the ease 
with which he would reform the customs, he was answered 
with Foster's bellow that if it were not for the law against 
murder, "he could freely run his knife" through the loud- 
mouthed intruder. Patrick White and his wife, visitors in 
the house, joined in berating the new Collector, who seemed 
little troubled by the strictures heaped upon him. 

Journeying into the interior, Miller summoned the legis- 
lature, to whom he read his orders, commissions and instruc- 
tions as required by custom. Among the documents presented 
to the Assembly was a written statement from the Proprie- 
tors, filled with conciliatory phrases. Included were assur- 
ances that they would never cede Albemarle to Virginia, 
"But will alwayes maintaine our province of Carolina en- 
tire as itt is," and would secure for its people their "English 
Rights and Liberties." And as a sop to the anti-proprietary 
group, they expressed their pleasure with the administration 


Upheaval in Albemarle 

• ■ .• 

x ^ v - 

1 " /— -» 

' ■ \ « •.. / 

i^y.f /~~> S«Sa» \»r*j&. UW $# „ ^&JiA . 


f $+&**& / kmfot- 


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tiff- *fcrt--£ 

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% r ,m 

Page of Francis Godfrey's will proved November 5, 1675, showing 
signature of John Culpeper. Courtesy of North Carolina Department 
of Archives and History. 

Rebellion in Albemarle 35 

of Jenkins. The Assembly, still predominantly pro-proprie- 
tary in sentiment, registered no protests against Miller's 
assumption of the government. In fact (or so it was claimed), 
they seemed to be quite willing to go along with his pro- 
posals for a new order in Albemarle. 

Thomas Miller was not a person to attract friends in great 
numbers. Although dictatorial, he was a most efficient man, 
possibly too much so. Given to excessive drinking and loose 
talk, he more than once abandoned discretion in conversa- 
tion to voice an opinion, often derogatory, on almost any 
subject. In his lust for power, Miller was guilty of "many ex- 
travagant things," decreeing strange limitations for members 
of the legislature and levying fines without even the pre- 
tense of a trial. If these dictates were ignored, Miller was 
not hesitant to publish warrants calling for the apprehen- 
sion, dead or alive, of some of the most prominent men in 
the county. 

For the first time in the history of Albemarle, customs were 
collected with facility and dispatch. Deputy collectors were 
appointed, Timothy Biggs for Upper Albemarle and Henry 
Hudson for the lower section of the county. A "pipeing 
guard" was organized to enforce Miller's dictates. Solomon 
Summers was to cruise the Sound near the inlets in the 
Success, stopping and searching all ships for contraband. 

Despite the rigidity of these regulations and controls, the 
people seemingly submitted without rancor, as affairs "went 
on in a quiet and peaceable manner," although not without 
the customary grumblings. Even John Culpeper seemed 
docile, and the former charges of treasonable language 
against Miller were dropped "upon the humble submission 
of the said Culpeper." Yet behind this facade of "good order 
& peaceable decorum" ran a current of plots and schemes, 
apparently geared to the return of George Durant from 

36 Upheaval in Albemarle 

London. Anti-proprietary men, according to later accounts, 
spent their time "poysoning the peoples ears unsetling and 
disquieting their minds" by the revival of the old rumors 
that the Proprietors were going to increase quitrents to two 
pence an acre and eventually to a high of six pence. 

Miller's diligence in the collection of customs began to 
pay off. Despite Bird's reluctance to give up the post, Miller 
was able to recover a large amount of tobacco. Additionally 
he was successful in forcing the former collector to forfeit 
a £500 bond for his negligence in allowing many vessels to 
sail without the proper payment of customs. Richard Foster, 
in spite of his dire threats, was likewise compelled to sur- 
render his bond. John Willoughby, who had given a £200 
bond that Captain John Liscomb's Patience carried no con- 
traband, was also obliged to forfeit this guarantee when 
Miller and Biggs seized "severall parcels of goods judged to 
be imported contrary to the Law." During the five months 
that the County of Albemarle remained in a "quiet posture," 
the Collector and his deputies gathered in 817 hogsheads con- 
taining 327,068 pounds of tobacco and collected £1,242 in 
forfeitures and seizures. Total customs receipts during this 
period amounted to nearly £8,000. 

On the first Saturday of December, 1677, Captain Zach- 
ariah Gillam's Carolina, "a very pretty vessel of some force," 
sailed into Albemarle Sound at the end of a long voyage 
from London. On board was George Durant, and in her hold 
was an uncommon amount of firearms, ammunition and 
"scimiters." According to Gillam's later testimony, his cargo 
was to be sold to the inhabitants to enable them to defend 
themselves against the Indians. Gillam, a native of Boston, 
had been in the Carolina trade since 1674. Prior to that 
time he had captained vessels exploring Hudson Bay in 
the employ of the same men who were also the proprietors 

Rebellion in Albemarle 37 

of Carolina. In 1673 he had been dismissed by Lord Shaftes- 
bury (the former Ashley-Cooper) because "he had very much 
abused them," through illegal trading while on a voyage of 
exploration. And it was common knowledge that he was 
not overly respectful of the customs regulations. 

Soon after dropping anchor, Captain Gillam went ashore 
to tender his papers to Miller. To the Collector's question 
if Gillam had ever carried tobacco out of Albemarle, the 
captain answered that he had, some 180 hogsheads. Then, 
said the triumphant Miller, Gillam would have to pay the 
duty of one penny a pound on that cargo. Assurances that 
the duty had been paid in England and a suggestion that 
the ship's books be examined seemed to make no difference 
to the Collector, who immediately placed Gillam under ar- 
rest and a £1,000 bond for a breach of the Navigation Acts. 
The captain's papers were seized and his boat crew placed 
in confinement. 

Having discovered from the seized papers that George 
Durant was a passenger aboard Gillam's ship, Miller armed 
himself with a brace of pistols and rowed out to the Caro- 
lina about eleven o'clock in the evening. Stepping on deck, 
he thrust his cocked pistols into Durant's chest and, "in an 
insolent Hectoring manner," arrested him as a "Traytour." 
This bit of bluster failed. Miller was soon overpowered by 
Gillam's crew. Benjamin Gillam, the captain's son and first 
mate of the Carolina offered Miller the use of the ship's long 
boat to go ashore, but the Collector angrily refused. For the 
next one and one-half hours he was kept in close confinement 
aboard ship, all the while railing against the indignities to 
which he was subjected. During this time Richard Foster 
and William Crawford came out to the ship for a hurried 
conference with Durant. 

38 Upheaval in Albemarle 

The following morning the flame of armed rebellion flared 
forth in Albemarle. John Culpeper exercised his literary 
talents by drawing up a "Remonstrance" for the "Pasqua- 
tanckians." Although professing to omit many heinous 
crimes, the document not only accused Miller of denying a 
free election for delegates to the Assembly, but declared that 
he "hath positively cheated" the County out of 130,000 
pounds of tobacco. It was further stated that Captain Gillam 
had arrived with three times the goods he had brought the 
previous year, but had become so outraged at his abuse at 
the hands of Miller that it was with difficulty that he had 
been persuaded to remain in Albemarle. In addition, the 
Collector and acting Governor was blamed for so "many 
other Injuries, mischiefes and grievances he hath brought 
upon us, that thereby an inevitable ruin is comeing (unless 
prevented), which wee are not about to doe." Thirty-four 
signatures, including those of William Crawford and Valen- 
tine Bird, were affixed to the document. 

Samuel Pricklove was given a copy of this manifesto and 
dispatched into Perquimans precinct to arouse the people 
there. Culpeper himself went into the upper part of the 
Chowan precinct to lead the people there in seizing the 
marshal along with all official papers. Richard Foster stirred 
up the Currituck precinct. 

Although the Marshal General of Albemarle, the Quaker 
Edward Wade, managed to intercept Pricklove and confiscate 
the remonstrance, he had little time to sound the alarm. 
Wade was himself taken prisoner a short time later by John 

Furnished with muskets and cutlasses from Gillam's ship, 
the rebels began a wholesale arrest of the proprietary faction. 
Bands of armed men scattered to seek out Thomas Miller, 
Timothy Biggs, Henry Hudson, John Nixon (a member of 

Rebellion in Albemarle 39 

the Council) and all others who had favored Miller's opera- 
tions. All the deputies of the Proprietors except Richard 
Foster were taken into custody and their papers, both public 
and private, confiscated. A number of the proprietary party 
who had held positions of authority fled into Virginia. Those 
"who are in Scorne called Quakers," and known adherents 
of the Proprietors, were subjected to threats by some of the 
rougher sort, and their houses ransacked for weapons after 
they refused to support the uprising. John Williams, a New 
England sea captain, used the general confusion to slip away 
without paying duty on the 100 hogsheads of tobacco in the 
hold of his ship. 

Miller and those who had supported him were first im- 
prisoned in the house of William Crawford on Albemarle 
Sound. Offshore, "the said Gillam rid his shipp," from which 
a steady stream of arms was unloaded. For two weeks Miller 
and his deputies were held captive, forced to listen to Craw- 
ford's constant "vowing and swearing" that the insurgents 
would stand by each other "to ye last dropp of blood." And, 
swore the irascible captain, if a single man among the rebels 
were killed by the proprietary men, every one of the prisoners 
would suffer death. 

Richard Foster, in command of a seventy-man guard, em- 
barked Miller, Biggs, and Nixon in small boats and rowed 
them around to George Durant's plantation at the north end 
of the sound. Gillam followed, firing a salute with three of 
his deck cannon "to accommodate the frolick." Gillam, how- 
ever, having provided the weapons for rebellion, refused 
to sell additional items of his cargo other than drinks until 
he was sure that any new government would be favorable to 
his operations. 

The rebels assembled, ostensibly to elect delegates to the 
Assembly. Brash talk and "irreverant speeches" dominated 

40 Upheaval in Albemarle 

the proceedings while a spirit of rebellion, overpowering 
caution, led to a singular number of loud threats against the 
Proprietors. Even the King came in for a share of what 
could be considered treasonable malevolence. There were 
shouted demands that the people of Albemarle should be 
allowed to ship their tobacco when and where they pleased, 
and not a farthing in customs should be paid. Their leaders 
could give a tint of authority to their operations, for they 
now had in their possession the Great Seal of the Colony. 
A search party, led by Valentine Bird and Edward Wells, 
had ransacked Timothy Biggs' dwelling and had discovered, 
hidden deep in a hogshead of tobacco, all of Miller's papers, 
commissions, instructions, and the Seal. 

The curses of the mob filled the air when Miller, Biggs, 
and Nixon, surrounded by three rows of armed guards, were 
brought out. Angry voices demanded that they be hanged 
at once without the formality of a trial. When Richard Foster 
brought in Henry Hudson from Currituck, the cries grew 
more insolent, with the mildest demands calling for at least 
a trial of Miller for his "several odious crymes." Even as 
William Sears' drum rattled out a call for order, some of 
the more rowdy among the group were throwing the stocks 
and pillory into the water. Others continued their insistence 
that Miller should be indicted for "blasphemy, treason, 
and other crimes." 

It was Richard Foster who finally managed to gain the 
attention of the crowd. He explained that since the govern- 
ment had been usurped by Miller, there was no Council to 
conduct such a trial, and the first order of business should 
be the election of an Assembly as an initial step in the es- 
tablishment of the new order. Even as this was proposed, 
antagonism against the Proprietors was voiced in the shout 
that they would "have noe Lords, noe Landgraves, noe cassi- 

Rebellion in Albemarle 41 

ques, we renounce them all and fly to the King's protec- 
tion." * In the following election, the eighteen members of 
the Assembly chosen were the leaders of the revolt: Thomas 
Cullen (Speaker), James Blount, Anthony Slocum, John 
Vernham, Henry Bonner, John Jenkins, Samuel Pricklove, 
William Therril, Caleb Calleway, Alexander Lillington, Wil- 
liam Crawford, Valentine Bird, William Jennings, Thomas 
Jarvis, Enoch Billings, Richard Saunders, Patrick White, 
and William Sears. The election of Sears, a drummer in the 
militia, was considered by the prisoners a new low in gov- 

John Jenkins wes elected "Generalissome" to command 
the troops and eventually to take over the reins as Governor. 
Durant was named to his old post of Attorney-General, while 
John Culpeper became Collector of the Customs. 

This "Parliament soe called" named Richard Foster and 
five others— Jenkins, Crawford, White, Blount, and Bird— to 
serve as judges in the court for the trial of Miller. A Grand 
Jury was empaneled "out of ye souldiers and confused 
Rabel." As foreman, Mordecai Bowden, a New England 
trader who Henry Hudson claimed was much in debt in the 
way of customs, was appointed. There was still the question 
of a specific charge. It would have been dangerous to use 
the primary complaint against Miller— efficiency in the collec- 
tion of the customs— as an indictment, for such would give 
the uprising the taint of rebellion. Similarly, there was 
doubt that his arbitrary government and harsh measures 
would support a charge, for his authority had been derived 
from Governor Eastchurch, the duly appointed executive of 
the Proprietors. The question of legality would have to be 
determined by a higher court than any that could be erected 

* Landgrave and Cacique were among the titles of nobility es- 
tablished by the Fundamental Constitutions referred to earlier in this 

42 Upheaval in Albemarle 

in the colony. So it was that Miller was placed in double 
jeopardy when the old charge— of which he had been ac- 
quitted by the Virginia Council— of speaking treasonable 
and blasphemous words was revived. And although the two 
previous witnesses, Will Cockin and Thomas Willis, had 
fled Albemarle, "run away," said Henry Hudson, "under 
horror of Conscience," the old depositions were presented 
once again as evidence of guilt. 

Hudson, who had acted as Miller's attorney in the past, 
later swore on oath that he witnessed Bowden ask Culpeper 
just what verdict should be returned by the Grand Jury. 
The Jury was out only briefly. Their verdict rocked the 
court, for rather than endorse the "Billa vera," or true bill, 
Bowden reported a Bill of Error. Culpepper, snatching the 
paper from him, shouted that this was a mistake, to which 
Bowden blurted out that they had followed exactly the in- 
structions of Culpeper. The Jury, fortunately for the rebels, 
proved pliable in its convictions, and quickly returned a 
true bill without leaving the room. 

With Miller formally indicted, the sheriff, whom Miller 
accused of "being stark drunk" off Gillam's whiskey, was 
directed to empanel a petit jury to try the former Collector. 
Again a New England ship captain, Joseph Winslow, also 
suspected of smuggling, was chosen foreman. The prisoner 
expected little justice from the jury of "scandalous, in- 
famous and illiterate persons." Even as they took their 
places, it was obvious that they were determined that the 
prisoner should suffer death. They freely expressed them- 
selves in voices so loud that all Miller could hear were "the 
threats, vows, and bloody oathes of stabbing, hanging, 
pistolling or poysoning." Others vented their spleen with the 
declaration "that they would never depart thence until they 
sawe ye said Miller dead or alive under ground." 

Rebellion in Albemarle 43 

There is little question that the verdict would have been 
death, but the trial was brought to a halt "at ye very nick 
of tyme" by the arrival of a proclamation from Governor 
Eastchurch in Virginia, where he had arrived just the week 
before. Culpeper refused to make public this pronouncement, 
and the copy that he made for the records was stripped of 
its meaning. 

The Governor's arrival in Jamestown compounded the 
illegality of the proceedings. Yet the rebels, urged on by 
George Durant, were determined he should not return to 
Albemarle. Neither would they release Miller, although any 
thought of further trial was too risky. The "Parliament" 
was convened once again, this time at the home of John 
Jenkins. They now directed that Miller should be hence- 
forth confined "at one old Wm. Jennings his house," along 
the upper reaches of the Pasquotank River. Later, a log jail, 
ten by eleven feet, was constructed to hold the prisoner. Not 
only was Miller "clapt in irons," but he was allowed no 
communication with anyone and was treated in what he 
claimed was "a cruell & barbarous manner shut up from all 

Governor Eastchurch remained as the greatest threat to 
the rebels. There was little doubt that upon his arrival in 
Albemarle the leaders of the rebellion would be tried for 
treason. It was with this in mind that armed troops were 
sent to the border to guard the approaches from Virginia 
against his return. Eastchurch promptly applied to Governor 
Berkeley for an armed force to invade Albemarle. A call for 
volunteers was issued. Berkeley, who had himself just ex- 
perienced the rebellion led by Nathaniel Bacon, and who had 
hanged William Drummond, Albemarle's first governor, for 
his participation in that revolt, promised 200 men. But be- 

44 Upheaval in Albemarle 

fore they could be assembled and organized, Eastchurch fell 
ill of a fever and soon was dead. 

No longer threatened by the presence of a duly authorized 
government, the rebels began to fashion their own, with 
Durant, Jenkins, and Culpeper as the principals. They were 
given strong support by Willoughby, Crawford, and Blount. 
With Culpeper acting as Collector, the people got what they 
wanted— no duties on tobacco. The money, tobacco, and 
other valuables confiscated by Miller were in turn confiscated 
by the rebel faction to finance their own government. Henry 
Hudson later stated, under oath, that not only did Culpeper 
allow ship captains to sail without proper clearances or pay- 
ment of duties, but he struck out the King's mark on those 
hogsheads which Miller had set aside as customs collections. 
Crawford's plantation on Albemarle Sound seems to have 
been the spot from which most of the tobacco was shipped. 

After about seven weeks imprisonment, Timothy Biggs 
escaped and made his way to England to report the turmoil 
in Albemarle. The rebels immediately started going through 
the confiscated records and papers, carefully selecting those 
best suited to justify their cause. Durant and Willoughby 
were selected to sail for England to present their case before 
the Proprietors. Although there is a hiatus in the records, 
it appears that only Willoughby made the quick voyage, 
recorded the rebel case, and returned. 

In any event, the Rebellion was destined to die a slow 


The Echoes of Rebellion 

The information of Timothy Biggs threw the Lords 
Proprietors into apprehensive confusion. These were danger- 
ous times for everyone engaged in colonization. Bacon's 
Rebellion in Virginia had almost seemed to set a pattern for 
revolts. The Davyes-Pate Rebellion in Maryland, although 
little more than a Sunday afternoon affair, had been con- 
sidered so serious that its leaders suffered death by hanging. 
And in London there were whispers that the King's Govern- 
ment were mentioning proprietary colonies in the same 
breath with Quo Warranto, the legal writ sometimes em- 
ployed to revoke charters. 

Biggs spent his time filing a flurry of petitions, affidavits, 
and depositions. He was loud in his denunciations of George 
Durant, who, he asserted, was the real promoter of the re- 
bellion. Nor was he sparing in his criticism of John Cul- 
peper. The Proprietors, seemingly hopeful that the trouble 
would go away if they left it alone, suggested to Biggs that 
he forward his grievances to the King in Council, and he 
had gone so far as to deliver his documents to the Lord 
High Treasurer. Perhaps the talk of Quo Warranto was 
repeated too often, for before the time appointed for Biggs 
to present his case, the Proprietors held a meeting "& for 
some Reasons best known to themselves Commanded 8c 
ordered me [Biggs] to desist." 

Possibly to get Biggs out of London, where his presence 
constantly reminded the royal officials of the trouble in 
Albemarle, the Proprietors commissioned him as Comptrol- 
ler and Surveyor-General in September, 1678, and sent him 
back to the colony. One John Taylor was named his deputy. 

46 Upheaval in Albemarle 

The selection of a Governor to replace Eastchurch was a 
more serious matter. It was necessary that the new appointee 
be a person who had not been in "any way Concerned in the 
late Disorders [and] will be soe impartial as those that had 
not att all any hand in them." Captain Henry Wilkinson 
was issued a commission and instructed to hasten to Albe- 
marle and there to establish an impartial court to hear all 
complaints and other actions arising out of the rebellion. 
But Wilkinson himself was a schemer of sorts, and even as 
he was making his final arrangements before sailing, he 
was arrested for political intrigue. 

Wilkinson was not easily replied, "it being a very difficult 
matter to gitt a man of worth ana* trust to go thither." Among 
the Proprietors, however, was one considered by them "a 
very sober discreet gentleman," and in "no way concerned 
in the factions and animosyties" of Albemarle. Seth Sothel, 
a Proprietor by virtue of his purchase of the share held by 
the Earl of Clarendon, was expected to bring about a peace- 
ful settlement of the troubles, for the latest word from 
Albemarle (probably that of Willoughby) was that "all is 
now quyett 8c peaceable." Not only was he to exercise the 
functions of executive, but Sothel was in addition placed in 
control of the customs. Robert Holden, then in London, 
was made his deputy, possibly a conciliatory measure to- 
wards the anti-proprietary men. 

No sooner had the Proprietors arrived at what they felt 
to be a solution than they discovered themselves right back 
at their point of departure. Sothel, sailing for America, was 
captured on the high seas by Turkish pirates who carried 
him to Algiers to be held for ransom. Until such time as 
he could be redeemed, it was necessary to appoint a tem- 
porary governor. John Harvey, who seems to have taken 
little part in the rebellion beyond the arrest of Edward Wade, 

The Echoes of Rebellion 47 

was issued a commission as interim governor, to serve in that 
capacity until Sothel's arriva in Albemarle. This appoint- 
ment and blank commissions for deputies were given to 
Holden before his departure for Carolina. 

In the meantime, Timothy Biggs, accompanied by John 
Taylor, arrived in Albemarle. Upon the news of his return, 
the "rabble" met at Durant's house, "their usual rendez- 
vous," and issued a warrant for Biggs to appear before them. 
Not only was he to answer the old charges against him, but 
also was to present all public and private papers that he had 
brought with him from England. Biggs, not one to be easily 
frightened, appeared as directed, but refused to do more than 
publicly read his commission. In his audience sat Zachariah 
Gillam, who to John Taylor "seemed to carry ye greatest 
sway & superintence over them." 

Boldly asserting his authority, Biggs went so far as to 
nail a paper on the courthouse door, announcing that inas- 
much as he was the only duly appointed officer of the King in 
the colony, he would perform all official duties, including the 
collection of customs. This was too much for John Culpeper. 
Ripping down Biggs's announcement, he replaced it with a 
similar document with his own name signed as Collector, 
forbidding all persons "to meddle with the Customs besides 
himself." When Biggs protested, Culpeper retorted that if 
he so much as interfered with even the smallest proceed- 
ing, "he would have him secured and clapt up again." His 
companions strengthened this stand with "insolent threats 
& surly behaviour." And Biggs knew their antagonism was 
genuine. From this time on, he slept with a loaded musket 
at his side, and took turns with Taylor and the members 
of his family in standing guard every hour of the day. 

The arrival of Robert Holden did little to ease the tension. 
He had stopped in Boston to examine the smuggling situa- 

48 Upheaval in Albemarle 

tion at its source. There his investigations revealed that 
Culpeper had "played such notorious pranks," that both 
the people and the customs "were never more infatuated, 
cheated and exhausted." If these conditions continued, he 
warned, "trading must become Bostoniz'd," and the spirit of 
revolt would linger in Albemarle. 

Despite these overtones of outrage in his report to the 
Proprietors, Holden was received without recorded protest 
in Albemarle, and he became the first Collector in the colony 
ever to send back custom receipts to England. John Harvey, 
as President of the Council and acting Governor since Feb- 
ruary, 1679, was "Quyetly & cherefully obeyed," probably 
because of his prudence in retaining many of the anti- 
proprietary faction in office. 

With a government approved by the Proprietors in office, 
the way was open to dispose of the case of Thomas Miller. 
Once again the old charges of blasphemy and treasonable 
words, some dating back to 1673, were revived. Additional 
depositions were recorded by Robert Holden, including a 
new statement by John Nixon of the proprietary faction, who 
swore to the accuracy of the blasphemy charge. Miller was 
brought before Harvey's court, whose members included 
Durant, Anthony Slocum, James Hill, and Timothy Biggs. 
The signatures of Harvey and Durant were on the warrant 
committing the prisoner to the care of Marshal Thomas 
Lepper, a Quaker and a member, of the proprietary party. 
Miller, aided by Timothy Biggs, James Hill, John Taylor, 
and Henry Hudson, made his escape, pursued by hue and 
cry into Virginia. Virginia's acting governor, Sir Henry 
Chicheley, issued a special warrant for the apprehension of 
Miller, but the fugitive made his escape with the collusion 
of Anthony Fen, a ship captain. 

With the flight of Miller, the troubles of Timothy Biggs 

The Echoes of Rebellion 49 

seemed to multiply. Although he had appointed Samuel 
Pricklove, an anti-proprietary man, as deputy, he gained 
no influence with the opposite faction. In fact, Biggs com- 
plained that "It is a vary hard Case that I Cannot imploy 
any Ingenious man in his Majesty's service— but he shall be 
for one false pretence or other be deplact by Arrests or other- 
wayes." This observation was borne out when Pricklove was 
arrested as Biggs sent him to investigate the operations of 
Robert Holden. Although Biggs stormed that not one acre 
of land would be surveyed in Albemarle until Pricklove was 
released, it amounted to little more than shouting into the 
teeth of a gale. Biggs made himself an irritant, digging 
away for evidence of wrongdoing at the least sign of devia- 
tion from the letter of the law. Among his complaints was 
one that John Willoughby, the Public Register, refused to 
answer his communications. He was loud in his accusation 
that Edward Wade, former High Sheriff, had been banished 
from the colony to prevent his giving evidence against the 
anti-proprietary faction. He threatened never again to set 
foot in Durant's house, which had become the unofficial seat 
of government; and from this moment on, his complaints 
would be dispatched directly to London. In a fit of pique, 
Biggs withdrew from his place on the Council, and persuaded 
James Hill, Deputy for the Duke of Albemarle, to do the 
same, hoping that this would create enough disturbance to 
overthrow the government. He urged the Proprietors to send 
a light warship to calm the troubles in Albemarle, for the 
prospects were that the situation would only be worsened 
by the swarm of "servants, Slaves & Debtors flying thither." 
Such actions could no longer be tolerated by the government 
in power, and once more Biggs fled to Virginia. 

Harvey died in August, 1679. Jenkins, elected President of 
the Council, once more assumed control of the government as 

50 Upheaval in Albemarle 

acting governor, supported by a Council that included Rich- 
ard Foster, John Willoughby, Anthony Slocum, and Robert 
Holden. Holden immediately drew up indictments against 
Miller and those who had aided him in his escape so that 
they might be tried in absentia. And with the flight of Mil- 
ler, it had been felt proper to dispatch John Culpeper to 
England to counter the charges that were sure to be levied. 
Almost immediately he sailed for Boston with Benjamin 
Gillam, and from there to London with Zachariah Gillam. 

By the time Culpeper landed in London, Biggs had man- 
aged to inform the Commissioners of the Customs that 
58,392 pounds of tobacco had been collected as customs 
duties during Miller's imprisonment, not a pound of which 
had been sent to England. In November, 1679, Culpeper was 
arrested and after a hearing gave his bond for £500 along 
with other security to deliver the tobacco within one year 
to Sir Peter Colleton, who would produce a certificate to 
that effect. With everything apparently settled to everyone's 
satisfaction, Gillam and Culpeper boarded the Carolina and 
dropped down the Thames to begin the voyage to America. 

In early December, Thomas Miller, accompanied by 
Henry Hudson, arrived in London penniless, sick, his heart 
filled with bitterness and rancor. Hurriedly submittting 
additional evidence to the Commissioners of Customs, he 
charged that in addition to the tobacco confiscated by Cul- 
peper and his group, some £1,242 of His Majesty's customs 
receipts and fines had likewise been embezzled. Informed 
that Gillam's ship was still awaiting a favorable wind in 
the Downs, the great roadstead in the English Channel, the 
Admiralty was instructed to order the commander-in-chief 
in the Downs to search all ships, including men-of-war, 
bound for Virginia. A similar order was dispatched to the 
western ports of England. Culpeper was soon apprehended,. 

The Echoes of Rebellion 51 

and along with Gillam, was brought back to London and 
kept in custody by order of the King in Council. 

Near the middle of January, 1680, Culpeper petitioned 
for his release, arguing that Miller's charges against him 
were "very vexatious 8c malitious." Detention would mean his 
ruin, he fumed, as the complainant well knew that he was 
far from home, without financial resources or friends to aid 
him. At the very least, Miller should be placed under bond 
or forced to give security for damages to Culpeper if the 
charges were not substantiated. This was but whistling in 
the wind. The end result was that both Culpeper and Gil- 
lam were charged as "being two of the Principall Contrivers 
& Promoters of the said Rebellion." 

On January 31, 1680, depositions were taken from Thomas 
Miller, Timothy Biggs, Henry Hudson, John Taylor, and 
Solomon Summers. This weight of evidence overwhelmed 
any proof that Culpeper could offer of his innocence, and 
he took the precaution of throwing himself upon the mercy 
of the King. If not pardoned by His Majesty, he begged that 
his trial be conducted in Carolina, where the fact had been 
committed. This plea, however, was nullified by the report 
of the Commissioners of Customs, who stated that no mercy 
should be shown Culpeper unless he satisfied all outstanding 
claims against him, estimated at this time to be around 
£3,000 sterling. 

On February 8, 1680 a hearing was conducted by the 
Committee of the Lords of Trade and Plantations. The Lords 
Proprietors were represented by Lord Shaftesbury, the Earl 
of Craven, and Sir Peter Colleton. Shaftesbury, whose de- 
votion to his "darling Carolina" was well known, and whom 
Charles II referred to as "Little Sincerity" and "the wickedest 
rogue in England," assumed the role of spokesman for the 
Proprietors of Carolina. The Proprietors were resting un- 

52 Upheaval in Albemarle 

easy, for not only were they required to answer the com- 
plaints relative to Carolina, but also to present "an au then- 
tick Copy of their Charter," which could well mean the 
first step in the revocation of that document. And it was 
also because of this same fear that Culpeper's actions, though 
not endorsed, were defended by the Proprietors as partially 
justified. Miller, they said, had been responsible for goading 
Culpeper and his compatriots into retaliatory action. They 
also argued that at the present time Albemarle was quiet 
and peaceable, with no evidence of rebellion. No decision or 
recommendation of the Committee was made public im- 
mediately, but on February 11 the Privy Council declared 
"that John Culpeper is guilty of Treason in abetting and 
encouraging a Rebellion in Carolina." On the following day 
the prisoner was committed to Newgate Prison. 

A week later Zachariah Gillam was called before the Lords 
of Trade and Plantations. In answer to testimony given by 
Miller and others, Gillam defended himself with vague, yet 
skillful, words, lending the impression that he was no more 
than an innocent ship captain, caught up in the whirlpool 
of a rebellion with which he had nothing to do. There being 
"no direct proof against him," Gillam was placed under the 
obligation of future attendance should new evidence be pre- 
sented, although he might go to sea if his business demand- 
ed. Gillam saw to it that such a demand arose. 

Culpeper's case dragged on, often delayed for the most 
trivial of reasons. Miller continued to bombard numerous 
government agencies with petitions and depositions. When 
his address to the King in Council received no action, he sent 
another, discreetly chiding the Council for their neglect of 
the King's business. Not until November 20, 1680, and then 
upon the direction of the King, did the Lords of Trade and 
Plantations bring John Culpeper to trial on a charge of 

The Echoes of Rebellion 53 

treason. They advised the Proprietors that it had been 
"declared to be Treason for any man to take up Armes 
against our Government, it being Levying warr against our 
King," when a government established under a charter grant- 
ed by His Majesty was overthrown. 

Culpeper was brought before the Court of the King's 
Bench. Miller, Biggs, Summers, Taylor, and Hudson all 
testified against the accused, emphasizing that the uprising 
in Albemarle must be classed as rebellion in every phase, 
and "in all which proceedings ye said Culpeper was a notor- 
ious Ringleader." Miller was convinced that the final ver- 
dict would be one of guilty, for in their examinations in the 
past the Proprietors had implied that they were convinced 
that the upheaval in Carolina had been nothing less than a 
"notorious Rebellion." Lord Shaftesbury, who "had been ye 
mouth of ye Lord Proprietors in ye whole affair," once 
again spoke for them at the trial. His testimony was, to 
say the least, surprising, for he became a witness for the 

In the opinion of the Proprietors, he stated, the rebellion 
had resulted when Thomas Miller, "without any legall 
authority," had managed to gain control of the government 
of Albemarle. Inasmuch as he had been obeyed quietly for 
the first five months, it would seem that his excessive drinking 
habits, his loose tongue, his threats, and his arbitrary pro- 
cedures had given rise to resistance when the people dis- 
covered there was no legal basis for his seizure of govern- 
ment. Not only was he overzealous in his governmental 
operations, said Shaftesbury, but Miller had, by his "divers 
unjustifyable actions," left himself open to law suits by those 
whom he had injured. 

Culpeper's claim that his authority was derived from the 
the Assembly of the people, said the Proprietor, was not 

54 Upheaval in Albemarle 

without basis. Under their constitution the people had been 
granted the privilege of electing delegates to the legislature 
every two years even without the issuance of a formal writ 
of election. Therefore Albemarle's "pretended Parliament" 
was in itself a legal body. In conclusion, Shaftesbury felt 
that the so-called rebellion was little more than a feud be- 
tween the planters, and should be termed at worst only a 

The verdict was acquittal for John Culpeper. To ease 
possible protests by the Commissioners of Customs, the Pro- 
prietors gave assurances that restitution would be made for 
the confiscated customs, although in their opinion the chief 
offenders should be made to bear the burden. Miller and his 
deputies, they promised, would be compensated for their 
injuries, and the Proprietors would "use their utmost powers 
to secure them from vexatious suits." 

Everyone except Thomas Miller and his fellow complain- 
ants seemed relieved and a little happy to rid themselves of 
what might become a rather sticky affair. On the surface, 
it seemed that at last the ruffled waters had been calmed, 
but rebellion died hard in Albemarle. 


The Slow Death of Rebellion 

Like all battlefields when the fighting has ended, Albe- 
marle was an unhappy place. The people appeared satisfied 
with Jenkins as acting governor, even though "Jenkins held 
the title, yet in fact Durant governed and used Jenkins as 
his property." Customs were collected by Robert Holden 
without public protest, while the Assembly levied a tax to 
replace the customs revenues seized "in the tyme of the 
disorders." An Act of Oblivion granted pardons to the 
"Rebels." And in 1681 the Proprietors relaxed their claims 
on all products of the whaling industry for seven years to 
allow the inhabitants to steady their fortunes. 

The Colony of Virginia still viewed Albemarle as but an 
extension of her own territory. In fact, when the Charter 
of 1665 had definitely placed Albemarle within the bound- 
aries of Carolina, the Virginians had lodged a charge of 
treason against Sir William Berkeley for consenting to the 
enlargement of Carolina, as one of the Proprietors. Fresh 
complaints from Albemarle arose as a result of statutory 
discrimination by the House of Burgesses. In 1679 that 
legislature, finding that tobacco from outside Virginia "hath 
been found very prejudiciall to this country and the inhabit- 
ants thereof," prohibited all but native tobacco from being 
shipped from its ports. 

Further complications arose when Governor Thomas 
Culpeper of Virginia ordered the Sheriff of Lower Norfolk 
County to collect quitrents and taxes from the inhabitants 
of the communities of Blackwater and Currituck in Albe- 
marle. And when, on July 3, 1681, the Burgesses followed his 
decree with a law, the people of Blackwater and Currituck 

56 Upheaval in Albemarle 

were forced not only to pay these levies to Virginia, but also 
to secure new land grants from that colony. This in turn 
gave rise to a continuing dispute that did not subside until 
1729, when it became known that North Carolina was to 
become a royal colony. 

The economic isolation brought about by the Virginia 
tobacco statute of 1679 only encouraged the New England 
traders in their smuggling of Albemarle's increasing ciop 
of tobacco. Had the Proprietors seen fit to erect Admiralty 
Courts in Carolina, it is not unlikely that the practice might 
have been curbed. But they gave tacit recognition to this 
contempt for the law because Admiralty Courts, with their 
"Sallaryes and other great and expensive Charges," were too 
heavy for their budget. 

Seth Sothel, finally ransomed from the Turkish pirates, 
arrived in the colony in 1683. Rather than continue the 
former rebels in office as proprietary deputies, the Lords 
Proprietors sent over blank commissions, to be filled only 
by "such as are honest men and not concerned with the late 
disturbances." And, they cautioned, to impress the inhabit- 
ants with the proper attitude of servility and respect, even 
the Councilors were to arise and remove their hats when 
addressing the governor, for in this manner they would not 
only be demonstrating the proper respect for the Proprietors, 
but also the King, the source of all colonial powers. And, 
it was also stressed that Sothel was to exercise his proprietary 
veto in the Grand Council as a measure to "hinder any Im- 
prudent Resolutions they might take." 

Sothel, however, had his own plans. His behavior as 
governor seemed to indicate that he felt that he alone was 
Proprietor of his private domain of Carolina. If the charges 
that were levied against him be true, and there is reason to 
believe they were, he was one of the most corrupt and 

The Slow Death of Rebellion 57 

arbitrary governors ever to hold office in the English colonies. 
Timothy Biggs, although long of the proprietary faction, was 
among the first to suffer embarrassment. Appointed Comp- 
troller of the Customs by the Commissioners of Customs in 
London, and newly re-appointed Surveyor General, he had 
returned to Albemarle to marry the widow of George 
Catchmaid. When Sothel refused to recognize the claim of 
Biggs's wife to her former husband's property, the well- 
traveled Biggs once again journeyed to London. Arriving 
there sometime before February, 1685, he indulged in what 
had become a habit with him— the submission of numbers 
of complaints, petitions, and affidavits. Biggs sang his old 
song that it was still impossible to get justice in Albemarle, 
for the persons chosen by Sothel to constitute his government 
were the same as those who had engaged in the insurrection. 
Now, however, Biggs's charges were given additional im- 
portance by the complaints of Colonel Philip Ludwell of 
Virginia, who also had difficulty in persuading Sothel to 
recognize the claims of his wife to property of a former 
husband. Ludwell's wife, incidentally, was the much married 
widow of Sir William Berkeley, who had wed Ludwell 
at Sir William's death. 

The Lords Proprietors were quick to note that Sothel had 
not only failed to send them the names of those he had 
selected as proprietary deputies, but had also failed to 
establish impartial courts to try cases arising out of the 
rebellion as he had been instructed. Neither had he dis- 
patched quitrents to England. They were fearful of any 
new troubles in Albemarle becoming known in England. 
Charles II had died in 1685, and his brother and successor, 
James II, had a reputation for looking with disfavor upon 
proprietary colonies. There was a constant threat that the 
Carolina Charter would suffer revocation, especially after 

58 Upheaval in Albemarle 

1687 when the Crown had ordered the Attorney-General 
and Solicitor-General of England to initiate Quo Warranto 
proceedings against the proprietary colonies in America. 
Only the overthrow of James II in the "Glorious Revolu- 
tion" of 1688 saved Carolina for the Lords Proprietors. 

John Archdale, an acting Proprietor at this time, was 
sent over to the colony to record complaints and take de- 
positions as well as to advise Sothel so that the Proprietors 
might better answer the "clamor of Mr. Biggs." Archdale's 
advice apparently went unheeded by the Governor of Albe- 
marle, for the Proprietors were soon flooded with petitions 
from the colony complaining of the "arbitrary proceedings" 
of Sothel. 

Sothel's actions soon alienated those ex-rebels who had 
seemed willing to ally themselves with him in the beginning. 
This became especially evident after he had the temerity to 
arrest the politically powerful George Durant, who had 
uttered "some reflecting words" as to the Governor's 
character. Durant's estate was seized and converted to 
Sothel's use. Personal gain seemed to be the governor's 
ultimate goal. Two traders, bearing proper papers from the 
Governors of Barbados and Bermuda, were accused of 
piracy, and jailed by Sothel. One of them, Richard 
Humphreys, "dyed of grief and ill usage." When Thomas 
Pollock, named as executor of Humphreys' will, offered the 
document for probate, Sothel refused to admit it as a proper 
will, and confiscated the goods for himself. Pollock threaten- 
ed an appeal to the Proprietors and soon found himself 
jailed for his audacity. 

Other property, including several plantations of consider- 
able value, found its way into Sothel's hands. He was also 
alleged to have "detained" such valuable items as slaves, 
cattle, "seven pewter dishes," and even a bit of "Narrow 

The Slow Death of Rebellion 59 

lace." Anyone accused of felony or treason, it was charged, 
could see the indictments quashed if he were inclined to 
offer the governor a large enough bribe. Pirates, it was 
said, were welcome in Albemarle if Sothel was satisfied with 
their offerings. 

Like a rubber band, the patience of the inhabitants of 
Albemarle was stretched until it snapped. Thomas Pollock, 
leading a group of malcontents, surprised Sothel upon 
his plantation "and clap't him into a Logg House." An- 
nouncing their purpose of sending their prisoner to England 
where formal charges would be filed, Sothel pleaded that 
they might not follow this course of action. He assured his 
captors that he would submit to a judgment by the General 
Assembly. Convicted on thirteen charges by the legislature, 
Seth Sothel was commanded "to adjure this Country for 12 
months and the Government for ever." Even then he was 
not released from confinement "until he renounced the Gov- 
ernment and subscribed a strange oath too long to be here 

Although the other Proprietors agreed that it was best 
to suspend Sothel from any governmental functions during 
"these dangerous tymes," that worthy fled to Charleston. 
Arriving there in 1690, he discovered the southern colony 
in a turmoil and greatly exercised by the actions of James 
Colleton (bother of Sir Peter Colleton), who had been sent 
out as Governor in 1686. Sothel managed to build himself a 
political clique of several hundred persons and by virtue of 
his status as a Proprietor, summoned a Parliament, banish- 
ed Colleton, and proclaimed himself governor of the Ashley 
River settlement. He seems to have absorbed some Avisdom 
and prudence from his experiences in Albemarle, for it is 
generally conceded that his administration in what was to 
become South Carolina shortly had much to recommend it. 

60 Upheaval in Albemarle 

He served as governor until 1691, when Philip Ludwell was 
appointed by the Proprietors. Although remaining a Pro- 
prietor until his death, Sothel apparently returned to Albe- 
marle to live out his days. And even after his death, the 
echoes of his administration continued to reverberate as a 
number of law suits brought against his estate cluttered the 
dockets of the Carolina courts. 

Ludwell's appointment marked the end of Albemarle as 
a separate political entity. From 1689 on, the governor 
ceased to be termed the Governor of Albemarle, but was 
now called the deputy governor of Carolina, the first of 
whom was Thomas Jarvis. Not until 1710 was there com- 
missioned a separate Governor of North Carolina, "inde- 
pendent of the Governour of Carolina," although as early as 
1691 there had been refeiences to Albemarle as North 

The last overtones of Culpeper's Revolt died away with 
the banishment of Seth Sothel, but Albemarle had by no 
means achieved the peaceful disposition so long sought by the 
Proprietors. In fact, Ludwell's appointment led one Captain 
John Gibbs to call the new governor a "Rascal, imposter & 
Usurper," and "a Tatler against ye Truth." So incensed 
was Gibbs that he pledged himself to carry on a campaign 
against Ludwell "as long as My Eyelids shall wagg." Even 
as late as 1711, Edward Hyde, the first to be appointed as 
Governor of North Carolina, found himself opposed by the 
rebellious faction of Thomas Cary. 

Tobacco smuggling by the New England captains con- 
tinued to plague customs officials, and there was an almost 
constant agitation that "fitt persons" be appointed Governor 
to curb this practice. And the Virginians still continued to 
look down upon the Albemarle section as something of a 
redheaded stepchild, contemptuously dismissing it with 

The Slow Death of Rebellion 61 

"only tis a place which receives Pirates, Runaways and 
Illegal Traders." Culpeper's Rebellion had been born as 
the fruit of many trees. Economic in nature, its true basis 
lay in the peculiar geographic situation of the Albemarle 
colony, accentuated by the violence and destruction of na- 
ture's capricious hurricanes and droughts. And the shallow 
inlets and sound had presented an open invitation to the 
light sailing vessels of the New England traders, who were 
not above evading the Navigation Acts if it meant a gold 
lining in their own pockets. 

Political discontent found its stimulus in the negligence 
and vagaries of the Proprietors, who spent far too much of 
their energies in long-term dreams of profits without suffici- 
ent concentration upon immediate problems. And, because 
of the ever-present threat of a writ of Quo Warranto, they 
seemed loath to call attention to the upheavals in their 
colony by recognizing them and taking the necessary strong 
actions to put them down quickly. The reluctance of the 
people to pay quitrents and customs, stemmed from an 
existence bordering on the miserable. Vexation made them 
pliable and instilled in them a willingness to listen to the 
vague panaceas promised by the anti-proprietary faction. 
The Fundamental Constitutions, with its implications of a 
return to feudalism, was an additional irritant and was 
distasteful to a people already tender and rubbed raw with 
the unhappiness of their lot. In 1700 Governor Francis 
Nicholson of Virginia voiced an opinion that must be con- 
sidered when constructing a summary of the revolt. While 
contrasting the activities of royal governors with those ap- 
pointed by Proprietors, Nicholson felt that the governors 
of proprietary colonies had an opportunity (which they 
usually took advantage of) to seize more power than was 
granted them. And the political ambitions of the Quakers 

62 Upheaval in Albemarle 

should be noted when casting about for the causes of re- 
bellion. From all contemporary accounts, they were an 
ambitious group. As late as 1708 Edmund Jennings observed 
from Virginia, "I am informed from North Carolina that 
there are very great commotions in the Government oc- 
casioned chiefly by the Quakers, . . . they have had the 
cunning to set all that Country in a flame, and all but them- 
selves in arms against one another." 

As for the rebellion itself, John Culpeper lent his name 
to the uprising in which he was not necessarily the major 
figure. Perhaps this arose from an effort to give cover to 
more important political figures who were content to re- 
main as anonymous as possible. Then too, his assumption 
of the Customs office, and his trial for treason, thrust him 
into the forefront of the spotlight of history. Culpeper was 
at best a schemer, and "never in his element but whilst 
fishing in troubled waters." One complaint stated that the 
one reason the people were willing to listen to him was his 
reputation as a trouble maker, and therefore they harkened 
to his words "for his experience sake." And it must be re- 
membered that the reason his name appears so frequently 
in the records of the revolt is that a majority of the deposi- 
tions, affidavits, and petitions were drawn up in an effort to 
gain an indictment against him. One would guess that had 
George Durant been in London at the time, equally vigorous 
accusations would have been brought against him. Certainly 
the name of John Culpeper fades from the scene and he is 
given but scant mention after his acquittal of treason. 

From the records, George Durant appears to have been 
recognized as the most powerful leader of the anti-pro- 
prietary faction of Jenkins, Jarvis, Willoughby, White, 
Blount, Foster, and Bird. When Jenkins was acting gover- 
nor, it was charged that he was little more than Durant's 

The Slow Death of Rebellion 63 

puppet. Even the accusations directed against Culpeper 
implied that Durant "was always a discontented man," and 
responsible for the "Rebell rout," and "hath all along when 
at home beene one of the most violent, active and most out- 
rageous of all the Conspirators and Insurrecters." 

Yet neither Durant nor Culpeper alone could have carried 
out a revolt against authority. It was a lively group of 
politicians who led the people onto the periphery of treason. 
Some of the Proprietors felt that Crawford was almost solely 
responsible for the uprising through his plotting with the 
New England traders "to gitt ye trade in this part of ye 
Country into their hands." And, they concluded, others in 
the plot feared that with the arrival of Eastchurch they 
would be held accountable for their past misdeeds. Gillam, 
when he was arrested in England, was also charged as one 
"of the Principall Contrivers & Promoters of the said Rebel- 
lion." After their examination, the King's Council bracket- 
ed Richard Foster with Culpeper as the parties most respon- 
sible for the revolt. Yet an anonymous representation to the 
Proprietors flatly stated that "Bird was their Leader and 
drew the first sword." 

Under the accumulation of this evidence, it can only be 
concluded that Culpeper's Rebellion was a joint effort, with 
the names of Durant, Culpeper, Gillam, Foster, Bird, Craw- 
ford, Jenkins, and Willoughby listed most often in the 
accounts as instigators of revolt. A resume prepared by 
Peter Colleton in 1680 listed them as the "Principall Autors 
& Actors in ye Late Comotion and Disturbances." 

In summary, and by stretching the imagination to bizarre 
extremes, it might be stated that Culpeper's Rebellion con- 
stituted the first stirrings of an independence movement in 
that it was based on resistance to proprietary dictates and 
English statutes. If pared down to its core, however, it can 

64 Upheaval in Albemarle 

only be termed a colonial reaction to the new policies in 
England as a result of the Restoration of Charles II to the 
throne of England. The English Civil War and the period 
of the Commonwealth had meant little to the isolated settlers 
of Albemarle, but when they fell under the rule of the Pro- 
prietors with the realization that their future would be 
bound within the ambitions of that group, they resisted. It 
was, in essence, a rebellion against the new, but short-lived, 
colonial policy of Charles II. 

The Slow Death of Rebellion 



The Lords Proprietors issued coins for their colony. The halfpenny 
shown above is in the collection of the Hall of History in Raleigh. 
(Courtesy of North Carolina Department of Archives and History) . 


A Register of Rebellion 

The following list of participants in Culpeper's Rebellion 
is admittedly weak. Records with respect to individuals in 
the seventeenth century are not bountiful, and the relatively 
feeble information herein included is compiled with the 
assumption that these notes might be of use in better placing 
the participants within the framework of the activity. The 
length of the sketches does not by any means indicate the 
prominence in Albemarle or the rebellion of the partici- 
pants. It simply means that for one reason or another, their 
names appear more often in the extant records. Some rather 
important participants have been omitted for no other reason 
than the paucity of available information. 

Timothy Biggs 

Timothy Biggs was a Quaker and had been in the Ashley 
River settlement in 1672. As a Deputy of the Earl of Craven 
in 1676, Thomas Miller also appointed him Deputy Collec- 
tor of Customs for Upper Albemarle in that same year. 
On September 28, 1678, after the revolt and the first of his 
three trips to London, the Proprietors appointed him Comp- 
troller and Surveyor-General for Albemarle. During this 
period he maintained an office on Little River Point. In 
1679, as a Council Member and Colleton's Deputy, he was 
a member of the Palatine Court to try Miller for blasphemy 
and treason, but shortly afterwards was instrumental in 
Miller's escape. 

Upon his return to Albemarle as Collector of Customs 
and Surveyor-General, around 1683, he married Mary, 
widow of George Catchmaid. Catchmaid had been Speaker 

A Register of Rebellion 67 

of the Albemarle Assembly in 1666 and later was clerk for 
Nansemond County, Virginia. His wife's inheritance of 
property in Albemarle led Biggs to lodge complaints against 
Seth Sothel, who refused to recognized her claims to the 
property of her first husband. 

Timothy Biggs seems to have died around 1686, and some 
accounts say that prior to that date he had removed to Vir- 
ginia in company with those Quakers who had found Albe- 
marle too uncomfortable after the ebb of rebellion. 

Valentine Bird 

Valentine Bird was Speaker of the Assembly in 1672. 
Appointed by John Jenkins, he served as Collector of Cus- 
toms from 1675 to 1677. In the investigations of the rebel- 
lion, the Proprietors claimed that Bird and several others 
resisted Thomas Miller when he first landed as Eastchurch's 
representative in 1677. Certainly he was a leader in the 
rebellion and not only was a member of the "Parliament," 
but was one of the judges who was to try Miller for 
blasphemy and treason. 

Bird died some time before January 31, 1680, leaving an 
estate valued at £583. Is. 3d. It was charged that at Bird's 
death Zachariah Gillam owed his estate some 2,000 pounds 
of tobacco. Byrd's widow, Margaret, married John Culpeper. 

James Blount 

In 1660 James Blount was living in Isle of Wight County, 
Virginia, but he had moved to Albemarle by 1669. He was 
a member of the Council in 1672, and in 1677 was one of 
the eighteen members chosen for the rebellious "Parlia- 
ment." He was also a judge on the court selected to try 
Miller at that time. He was listed as a member of the 

€8 Upheaval in Albemarle 

General Assembly in 1679. It was alleged that as a leader in 
Culpeper's Rebellion he was responsible for bringing the 
Chowan Precinct into the revolt. 

He died some time prior to July, 1686, when his will 
was proved before Seth Sothel. Surviving him was his wife, 
the former Anna Willix of Exeter, New Hampshire, who had 
been married previous to her union with Blount. In his 
will three sons, Thomas, John and James, and two daughters, 
Ann Slocum and Elizabeth Hawkins, were named as bene- 
ficiaries. Some time afterwards his widow became the wife 
of Seth Sothel. 

Caleb Calleway 

Calleway was a resident of Albemarle as early as 1663. In 
addition to planting tobacco, he apparently worked some as 
a cooper, building the hogsheads used for shipping tobacco. 

Although active in the outbreak of the rebellion, and a 
member of the "Parliament" in 1677, his name fades from 
the lists of active participants after that date. He did, how- 
ever, remain prominent in the affairs of Albemarle, serving 
as a Justice of the Perquimans Precinct Court between 1693 
and 1699. He was listed as Overseer of Roads from 1704 
to 1706. 

His will was probated June 13, 1706. 

William Crawford 

His surname is usually spelled "Craford" or "Crafford" 
in the contemporary accounts. Although usually spoken 
of as a New England man, he was in Albemarle as early as 
1665, for in that year Captain John Whitley, who seems to 
have been employed by the Proprietors to bring settlers and 
stock to Albemarle, complained that he had been "plaid the 
Knave" by Crawford. 

A Register of Rebellion 69 

He was a member of the rebel "Parliament" in 1677 and 
in 1678, and again in 1680 he was listed as a member of the 
Council during the administration of John Jenkins. He was 
charged with being one of the principal leaders of the re- 
bellion, and apparently nourished political ambitions, for it 
was stated he "industriously made it his business to be 
popular." He was one of the members of the court named 
in 1677 to try Thomas Miller. 

His home was in "Pascotank" on Albemarle Sound, and 
during the continuing upheavel in 1679, and while Culpeper 
was Collector of Customs, his plantation seemed to be the 
primary point for the illegal shipping of tobacco. It may 
have been that he and his wife, Margaret, later moved to 
Virginia, for a Captain William Crawford was a delegate 
from Lower Norfolk County to that colony's House of Bur- 
gesses in 1688. Three years later, in 1691, William Craw- 
ford, listing his age as fifty-four, made a deposition as a 
member of the Court of that same county. 

John Culpeper 

Culpeper was of good family, although it would seem by 
his later actions that he was the "black sheep." It has 
been suggested that he was possibly the brother of the gover- 
nor-marrying Frances Culpeper, who over the years became 
successively the wife of Samuel Stephens, Sir William Berke- 
ley, and Philip Ludwell. 

John Culpeper appeared in Carolina in 1671 in the Ash- 
ley River settlement, where he arrived with a proprietary 
commission as Surveyor-General. After being involved in an 
uprising there, he fled to Albemarle, where he arrived some 
time prior to October, 1675. 

Intrigue seemed to be inherent in his nature. He is 
alleged to have been instrumental in plots and schemes of 

70 Upheaval in Albemarle 

one kind or another in Ashley River, Albemarle, New 
England, and Virginia. In the Albemarle uprising, Thomas 
Miller said Culpeper was "their Cheif Councillour and 

Appointed Collector after the rebellion which bears his 
name, he obviously was lax in his duties, and not only were 
customs ignored, but he was accused of confiscating the 
tobacco and money that had already been taken in by 
Miller and his deputies. When in London he apparently 
explained away his transgressions to the satisfaction of every- 
one until the ill-timed arrival of Miller in England. Arrest- 
ed and charged with treason, he was acquitted by the Court of 
the King's Bench in 1680 when Lord Shaftesbury turned 
witness for the defense, claiming there had been no real 
rebellion in Albemarle and that Miller did not represent 
the legal government. 

Culpeper is said to have gone to New England after the 
rebellion subsided, but apparently he died in Albemarle 
some time before 1695. Even in death, he remained a con- 
troversial figure, as a large number of law suits were brought 
against his estate, but in each instance the verdict was 
against the plaintiff. Strangely enough, the foreman of the 
jury that decided one of these cases on February 25, 1695, 
was named Thomas Miller — but not the same Miller of 
rebellion fame, for he had died some ten years earlier. 

George Durant 

In October 1688, George Durant had a brother living in 
London, so it is possible that Durant may have immigrated 
to Albemarle from England. In his will, he referred to him- 
self as a "Marriner," and it appears that his early life may 
have been spent at sea. On the other hand, inasmuch as he 
served as Attorney-General of Albemarle upon several oc- 

A Register of Rebellion 71 

casions, it also seems that there was at least some legal train- 
ing in his background. 

Durant was in Albemarle as early as 1661 and probably 
earlier, and he was listed as one of the principals in the 
earliest known land exchange in the area. From the avail- 
able evidence, he may well have been the primary instigator 
of Culpeper's Rebellion, for the account compiled by the 
Lords Proprietors of the uprising related that "George 
Durant was always a discontented man and was the most 
active of the rebels." Although Jenkins served as head of 
the government, it was charged that Durant, as Attorney- 
General, was the real power in Albemarle. This is given 
some credence by the revelation that a majority of the rebel 
meetings were held at the house of Durant, described by 
Timothy Biggs as "their usual rendezvous." Durant was 
responsible for drawing up the charges against Miller in the 
trials of 1677 and 1679. He was also selected, along with 
John Willoughby, as agent for the insurgents "to cover all 
their actions over in England that truth might not come to 

After Seth Sothel became Governor, Durant was imprison- 
ed for speaking out against the executive and threatening to 
go to the Proprietors with a complaint against the Governor's 

His will was proved in February, 1694, the same day as 
the will of Seth Sothel. His survivors included his wife, 
Ann, two sons, and four daughters. 

Thomas Eastchurch 

As suggested by William S. Powell in his Ye County of 
Albemarle, this may well have been the same Thomas East- 
church of Devon, England, who graduated in 1628 from 
Queen's College, Oxford. His political connections were 


Upheaval in Albemarle 

George Durant's Bible, printed in London in 1599. It is now in the 
North Carolina Collection at the University of North Carolina Library. 
(Courtesy of University of North Carolina Library) . 

A Register of Rebellion 73 

good, as he was related to Thomas Clifford, the Lord High 
Treasurer of England, on whose recommendation East- 
church was appointed Governor of Albemarle. 

He had been in Carolina prior to December, 1671, for in 
that month, in a letter written from Virginia, he complained 
to Carteret about the vandalism done his property in 

In 1671 he had been appointed Surveyor-General of 
Albemarle, and by 1675 he was Speaker of the Assembly and 
the leader of the proprietary faction in the colony. In 1676, 
upon the recommendation of Clifford, the Proprietors ap- 
pointed him Governor of Albemarle, in addition to any 
new settlements that might be established on the Neuse or 
Pamlico rivers. The Proprietors had found him to be "of 
a very good family," as well as "a very discreet and worthy 

On his way to the colony in 1676 he stopped over on the 
West Indian island of Nevis, where he married a woman of 
"a. considerable fortune," and dispatched Thomas Miller 
with authorization to perform his duties in Albemarle. 

In the early summer of 1677 he reached Virginia, but was 
prevented from entering Albemarle by armed guards sta- 
tioned by the rebels along the border. While collecting re- 
cruits to stamp out the revolt, he contracted the fever of 
which he died. 

Richard Foster 

The name of Richard Foster appears in the records of 
Lower Norfolk County, Virginia, as early as 1641. At the 
same time that he was a member of the House of Burgesses 
in 1655-1656, he held the title of captain. 

His political prestige is indicated by the number of times 
he served as a member of the Council: 1670 (Stephens), 

74 Upheaval in Albemarle 

1670-1672 (Carteret), 1678 (Jenkins), 1679 (Harvey), and 
1680 (Jenkins) . The fact that he was addressed by the 
military title of Lieutenant-Colonel in 1679 implies that he 
was in command of the Albemarle militia during this year. 

Foster was the only Proprietary Deputy who participated 
in Culpeper's Rebellion, and in summarizing their investi- 
gation of the uprising, the King's Council was of the opinion 
that Foster, along with Culpeper, "contrived" the rebellion. 
In 1677 Foster presided over the court that attempted to 
try Thomas Miller for blasphemy and treason. 

There is no record of his death. 

Zachariah Gillam 

Zachariah Gillam was felt by many to be one of the ring- 
leaders of the revolt against Thomas Miller. He was the 
second son of Benjamin Gillam of Gillam and Company of 

In 1664, when about thirty years old, he was captain of the 
vessel that transported the French explorers, Radisson and 
Groseillers, into the Hudson Bay region. In the ketch 
Nonesuch, he reconnoitered the bay for those interested in 
forming the Hudson Bay Company, and his was reputed to 
be the first European ship ever to reach the lower end of 
the bay. In 1671, the year after the company was chartered, 
Gillam sailed the Prince Rupert into Hudson Bay again, 
among other things conducting a search for the Northwest 
Passage. He was dismissed from company service upon his 
return to England in 1673, and charged with engaging in 
private trade while employed on business for the Proprietors 
of Hudson Bay. Shaftesbury instituted a suit against him in 
Chancery Court in 1674, although the captain seems to 
have been back in the good graces of the Proprietors by 

A Register of Rebellion 75 

He was in the Albemarle tobacco trade as early as 1676 and 
possibly earlier. By this date he also appears to have served 
as an unauthorized agent purchasing tobacco for the non- 
English European market. In addition, there has been the 
suggestion that Gillam operated a counting house in 

Zachariah Gillam was without a doubt involved in Cul- 
peper's Rebellion, for the uprising did not occur until after 
the arrival of his ship, the Carolina, with a cargo of arms 
and ammunition. Arrested in London in 1680 with John 
Culpeper, he was released for lack of actual proof of his 

Soon after this, known as "old Gillam," he once again 
captained the Prince Rupert on a voyage to Hudson Bay. 
There he and his son, Benjamin II, "Young Gillam," be- 
came entangled in new charges of illegal trading in the area. 
On October 21, 1682, Zachariah Gillam drowned when the 
Prince Rupert, crushed by the ice in the Nelson River, sank. 

John Harvey 

John Harvey came to Albemarle from Virginia around 
1658, bringing with him seventeen persons as settlers. His 
land grant was what has since become known as Harvey's 
Neck. In 1670 he was a Council member under Stephens 
and in 1672 he was Assistant Governor to Peter Carteret. 

Harvey seems to have participated little in Culpeper's 
Rebellion, although he was responsible for taking Marshal 
General Edward Wade prisoner in the early stages of the 
upheaval. His only other activity seems to have been the 
recording of depositions in the building up of a case against 
Miller. His name is not listed as an active rebel in any of 
the complaints, affidavits, or depositions filed by Miller and 
his group. 

76 Upheaval in Albemarle 

He aided Durant in drawing up charges for Miller's 
second trial in 1679, and as Governor he would have served 
as presiding judge had the trial taken place. 

When Governor Seth Sothel was taken at sea and held for 
ransom by Turkish pirates, Harvey served as Governor from 
February, 1679, until his death in August that same year. 
He was survived by this wife, the former Dorothy Tuke of 
Isle of Wight County, Virginia. 

Robert Holden 

William S. Powell suggests that Robert Holden may have 
been a native of Kent, England, and studied at Pembroke 
College, Cambridge. 

He was in Virginia no later than December of 1671. In 
September of that same year the Lords Proprietors of Caro- 
lina had granted him 660 acres of land in Albemarle, and 
also allowed him to trade with the Indians with the ex- 
pressed desire that by doing so he might open up a trading 
path with the Ashley River settlement. 

Holden seems to have been a favorite of the Proprietors. 
He often served as Secretary of Albemarle, having filled that 
position in 1675, 1677, and between 1679 and 1684. In 
addition he also filled a chair in the Council in 1678 and 
between 1679 and 1690. 

It would seem that he was involved in Culpeper's Rebel- 
lion more than is indicated by the records, for he was accused 
as a "Ringleader" in Bacon's Rebellion in Virginia and a 
warrant had been issued for him in that colony as one of 
the leaders in that uprising. 

Appointed Customs Collector under Sothel, it was Holden 
who brought Harvey's commission to Albemarle after the 
Governor was captured by the Turks. He seems to have 
occupied the office of Customs Collector until 1685, and 

A Register of Rebellion 77 

was the first holder of that position who returned any re- 
ceipts to the Crown. 

In February, 1679, Holden was commissioned by the 
Proprietors as commander of a body of men to explore the 
interior of Carolina "on this side or beyond the Apeletean 
Mountaines." In addition he was commissioned as the per- 
sonal representative of the Proprietors in claiming "all 
Wrecks, Ambergrise or any other Ejections of the Sea." 

In the spring of 1707 he was in London and wrote a 
description of Carolina for the Proprietors. That same year 
the Proprietors also attempted to secure royal confirmation 
of Holden's appointment as Governor of the Bahamas, but 
there is no evidence that he ever served in that office. 

Henry Hudson 

In 1680 Hudson was fifty-four years old. 

He served as Deputy Collector for Lower Albemarle un- 
der Miller and was arrested with him in 1677. In 1679 
Hudson was one of those who aided Miller's escape. He 
testified against Culpeper in the latter's trial in 1680. 

In 1681 Henry Hudson petitioned relief from the 
economic distress resulting from the rebellion. On July 19, 
1681, he was appointed Customs Collector for Albemarle, 
but he died the next year before he could make the voyage 
to the colony. 

Thomas Jarvis 

Thomas Jarvis settled in Albemarle some time before 
1663, perhaps as early as 1658. He was known as a man "of 
sterling character and sound judgement." With his wife, 
Dorcas, he lived on a plantation adjoining that of John 

78 Upheaval in Albemarle 

He was a Council member in 1672 and elected a delegate 
to the rebel "Parliament" in 1677. Between 1691 and 1694 
he served as deputy to Philip Ludwell and as such was gov- 
ernor of Carolina "north east of the Cape Fear." 

Inventory of the estate of "Thomas Jervis, esqr." valued 
at £509 6s lid, was accomplished August 6, 1694, by Foster 
Jervis, believed to be his son. 

John Jenkins 

Powell in Ye County of Albemarle feels that perhaps this 
is the same John Jenkins who graduated from Clare College, 
Cambridge, in 1642. 

In 1653 Jenkins patented land in Northumberland 
County, Virginia, but he did not settle it. That same year 
he was also licensed by the Council of State in England to 
transport twenty-three men and one hundred dozen pairs of 
shoes to Bermuda. 

He settled in Albemarle around 1658, and on September 
6, 1663, received from Sir William Berkeley a grant of 700 
acres of land south of the Perquimans River. 

In 1670 he was Deputy of the Earl of Craven and served 
on the Council of Governor Stephens. He was also a mem- 
ber of the Council in 1677 and again in 1679 under Harvey. 
In 1672 Jenkins bore the title of Lieutenant-Colonel of 
militia, and as President of the Council that year succeeded 
Peter Carteret as acting Governor. He served in this 
capacity until 1677, when he was put out of office by the pro- 
prietary faction of the Assembly. As a leader in the rebellion 
against Thomas Miller, he was again to be selected as acting 
executive, although there were claims that he was but the 
puppet of George Durant. After the death of John Harvey 
in August, 1679, Jenkins once again became the acting Gov- 

A Register of Rebellion 79 

ernor and performed the functions of that office until his 
own death on December 17, 1681. 

William Jennings 

William Jennings patented 350 acres of land in Surry 
County, Virginia, in 1657, and six years later, in 1663, was 
granted 550 acres on New Begun Creek in Albemarle 

Although there is little definite information about 
Jennings, it seems that he was fairly active in Culpeper's 
Rebellion. As early as 1672 he had served on the Governor's 
Council and in 1677 was elected a member of the rebel 

In 1679 his home was reported as being located on the 
upper end of the Pasquotank River. 

His will, probated April, 1687, bequeathed to a son-in-law 
"my gun that I bought of Cpt: Gillam." 

Alexander Lillington 

There is only fragmentary mention of Lillington in the 
colonial records. He is mentioned as an attorney in 1694, 
and he served as a Justice of Perquimans Precinct from 
1693 to 1697. There is also an account of a law suit between 
Lillington and Caleb Calleway in 1695. His participation 
in the rebellion is vague, although he is listed as one of the 
members of the "Parliament" of 1677. On the other hand, 
in reading through the accounts, there is a definite feeling 
that Lillington was one of the more active leaders. 

Alexander Lillington's will was probated October 8, 1697. 

80 Upheaval in Albemarle 

Thomas Miller 

In the indictment drawn up by the rebels against him, 
Thomas Miller was referred to as an apothecary. In the 
resistance against the proprietary faction in 1675, Miller was 
indicted for treasonable and blasphemous utterances, some 
of which dated back to 1673. Escorted to Virginia, Miller 
was acquitted by Governor William Berkeley and his 
Council. From Jamestown he sailed to London where he 
was to be joined by Thomas Eastchurch. After Eastchurch's 
appointment as Governor he and Miller sailed for Albemarle 
by way of the West Indies, where the newly appointed 
Governor fell victim to Cupid's wiles. Miller sailed for the 
Albemarle colony as Eastchurch's personal representative. 

When Thomas Miller arrived in Albemarle in the sum- 
mer of 1677 he was twenty-nine years old. He was a Deputy 
for the Earl of Shaftesbury and held a commission as Register 
and Collector of the Customs, in addition to instructions 
from Eastchurch allowing his representative to perform 
executive functions until the arrival of the honeymooning 
Governor. For five months he collected customs with effici- 
ency, although not without some resistance from Valentine 
Bird and others of the anti-proprietary faction. According to 
Shaftesbury, he had no legal authority to assume the powers 
of government in Albemarle. 

When the rebellious element rose up against him, Miller 
was once again charged with the old charges of blashphemy 
and treasonable words, and was confined in a log jail on 
the plantation of William Jennings. He escaped in 1679 and 
made his way to London, where he bombarded the Proprie- 
tors, the Commissioners of Customs, and the Privy Council 
with depositions, affidavits, and petitions. 

After the desertion of Miller by the Lords Proprietors 
in favor of Culpeper during the trial of the latter, Miller 

A Register of Rebellion 81 

continued to present claims, and to complain of Lord 
Shaftesbury's interference in favor of Culpeper, who had 
been proven guilty. Not until December, 1680, did he 
formally resign his position as Collector. The Treasury reim- 
bursed him £59 for his losses in Albemarle. A short time 
later he was appointed to the position of Collector for the 
ports of Poole and Weymouth on the English Channel. Once 
again ill winds dogged the trail of this unfortunate man. 
Falling in arrears in his accounts, Thomas Miller was ar- 
rested and he died in prison in 1685. His wife was sum- 
moned to court and sued for £1,000, the amount of Miller's 
bond, but she reported that her husband's accounts were 
so hopelessly "embezzled," that it was impossible to make 
them up. She also made an unsuccessful attempt to regain 
her husband's lands in Carolina. She was eventually released 
from the responsibility of her husband's bond. 

John Nixon 

John Nixon seems to have been a Scot and a protege" of 
Shaftesbury and Colleton. The first notice of the presence 
of this rather dour and surly man in Albemarle occurs in 

In 1673 he was a Magistrate for Albemarle, and refused to 
try Miller for blasphemy and treasonable words because of 
lack of sufficient evidence. 

In 1677 he was a Deputy for Sir Peter Colleton and a 
member of the Council and was arrested along with Miller 
and others of the proprietary faction, and accused of treason 
by the Culpeper group. 

He was again a member of the Council in 1679, but by 
this time he seems to have learned his lesson and was playing 
both sides of the political stream. Upon Miller's arraign- 

82 Upheaval in Albemarle 

ment for trial in that year, John Nixon submitted a deposi- 
tion against the accused. 

That same year, it is not unlikely that this fifty-four year 
old man was the same John Nixon who was appointed Gov- 
ernor of the Hudson Bay, but found himself in difficulty 
with the Proprietors and out of office by 1684. 

The will of John Nixon was probated in Pasquotank, 
August 8, 1692. 

Samuel Pricklove 

Although not a leader in Culpeper's Rebellion, Samuel 
Pricklove seems to have been involved as one of the primary 
subordinates. He had been in Albemarle in 1662 and prob- 
ably earlier. 

Pricklove acted as messenger carrying the "Remonstrance" 
of the inhabitants of Pasquotank into Perquimans and was 
arrested by Marshal Edward Wade. He was later elected a 
member of the rebel "Parliament" of 1677. 

In 1680, as Deputy Surveyor-General to Timothy Biggs, 
Pricklove was arrested and imprisoned when he was sent 
by Biggs to investigate the operations of Robert Holden. 

The will of Samuel Pricklove was proved March 29, 1703. 

Anthony Slocum 

Anthony Slocum is another of those characters whose role 
in the rebellion appears to have been rather large, but of 
whom information is scant. A member of the "Parliament" 
of 1677, he was to serve as a member of the Council in 1678 
under Jenkins, in 1679 under Harvey, and again in 1680 
under Jenkins. 

He died some time before November 26, 1688. 

A Register of Rebellion 83 

Seth Sothel 

Little is known of Seth Sothel's earlier life, and there is 
practically no mention of him until he is listed as one of 
the Proprietors of Carolina. 

Sothel became a Proprietor of Carolina through the pur- 
chase of the share held by the Earl of Clarendon. Named 
Governor of Albemarle, he was captured by Turkish pirates 
who carried him to Algiers and held him for ransom. He 
arrived in Albemarle around 1683. 

As Governor his arbitrary actions so incensed the people 
of Albemarle that, led by Thomas Pollock, they arrested 
Sothel. Like Miller, he was kept prisoner in a "Logg House." 
Rather than return to England to answer charges against 
him, he agreed to abide by the decision of the Assembly. 
Forced to take an oath renouncing any ambitions to the 
Government of Albemarle forever and agreeing to leave the 
colony for twelve months, Sothel spent his banishment in 
Charleston. On June 10, 1691, Governor Francis Nicholson 
of Virginia wrote the Lords of Trade, "I hear that at South 
Carolina one Mr. Southwell who was banished by ye Mob 
out of North Carolina now heads them there [Charleston], 
soe they are in great disorder." Creating a faction against 
the administration of Governor Peter Colleton, Sothel gained 
the Governor's chair in South Carolina and remained as 
chief executive of the Ashley River settlement until 1691. 
His administration in South Carolina is usually looked upon 
with some favor by those who have studied the history of 
that colony. 

Seth Sothel apparently returned to Albemarle to live out 
his days and remained a Proprietor until his death in 1694. 
The date of his death is sometimes listed as 1697, but his 
will was proven in February, 1694. A number of law suits 
were brought against his estate after his death. 

84 Upheaval in Albemarle 

Patrick White 

Patrick White is another of those prominent in the rebel- 
lion about whom but little is known, although in the accusa- 
tions prepared against the leaders of the insurgents it was 
said White "hath formerly been a disturber of Government." 

A member of the "Parliament" of 1677, he was also among 
the six judges selected for the court to try Thomas Miller. 

After the rebellion in Albemarle died down, it seems that 
he went to Virginia, for in April, 1682, a Patrick White was 
granted Crow Island in Princess Ann County. 

John Willoughby 

John Willoughby ranks as one of the most prominent poli- 
ticians of the period. It was claimed that his courteous treat- 
ment of those inferior to him was only because he was "fac- 
tious and would be popular," while as a judge he was de- 
scribed as somewhat arbitrary and with "a natural habit of 
pride and ambition." 

He was a Deputy for Ashley-Cooper in 1670 and again, 
after that Proprietor became Lord Shaftesbury, Willoughby 
was listed as his Deputy in 1682. He was a member of the 
Council in 1670 (Stephens), 1678 (Jenkins), 1679 (Harvey), 
and in 1680 (Jenkins) . 

Before the outbreak of the rebellion he fled to Virginia 
in 1675 to avoid persecution by the Eastchurch faction, after 
Willoughby had thrashed the messenger bearing summons 
for him to appear before them. He was named as one of the 
principal leaders in the rebellion, and he was selected as an 
agent, along with George Durant, to present the case of the 
insurgents to the authorities in England. 

In March, 1686, when it was said that John Willoughby 
was sixty-five years of age, his wife, Deborah, gave birth to 


The natural and only point of departure for a project 
of this nature must fall within Hugh T. Lefler and Albert R. 
Newsome, North Carolina: The History of a Southern State 

(Chapel Hill, 1954). With the basic details as outlined here, 
the excellent bibliography leads the researcher into those 
fields where the harvest is most plentiful. 

As for primary materials, Volume I of the Colonial Rec- 
ords of North Carolina (Raleigh, 1886-1890), edited by 
W. L. Saunders, contained the bulk of depositions, affidavits 
and petitions from which this study was framed. Many little 
nagging details, however, were often clarified in William S. 
Powell's Ye Countie of Albemarle in Carolina (Raleigh, 
1958) , not only in the documents contained therein, but 
within that editor's excellent annotations and editorial com- 
ment. A work of great value, especially with reference to 
English sources, is Volume III of Charles M. Andrews' The 
Colonial Period of American History (New York, 1937). 
And not to be overlooked is Wesley Frank Craven's The 
Southern Colonies in the Seventeenth Century (Baton 
Rouge, 1949) , valuable for its revelations of the pressures and 
attitudes of the colonists, as well as placing Albemarle with- 
in the framework of English colonization. These four works 
made up the core of the research that make up this work. 

Fugitive bits of information, some most revealing, were 
discovered in other nests. For instance, Hugh T. Lefler 

(ed.), "A Description of 'Carolana' By a 'Well-Wilier,' 1649," 
The North Carolina Historical Review, XXXII (January, 
1955) , 102-105, offers an interesting commentary on early 
Carolina. William S. Powell's The Carolina Charter of 1663: 
How It Came to North Carolina and Its Place in History 

(Raleigh, 1954) is an easily found publication useful for its 

86 Upheaval in Albemarle 

peripheral material. Although not directly concerned with 
Culpeper's revolt, the Publications of the Champlain So- 
ciety: Hudson Bay Series (Toronto, 1938-1959) offer inter- 
esting background as to the early and later lives of such 
characters as Zachariah and Benjamin Gillam, and in these 
volumes lies the suggestion that John Nixon became the 
Governor of the Hudson Bay area. The Narratives of the 
Insurrections: Original Narratives of Early American His- 
tory, 1675-1690 (New York, 1915), edited by Charles M. 
Andrews, contain many of the same accounts found in the 
Colonial Records of North Carolina, but are easier to read 
because of the modernization of language and the annotations 
should not be ignored. 

Official English reaction to the upheaval in Albemarle is 
found in several British publications: The Acts of the Privy 
Council, Colonial (London, various dates), the Calendar of 
State Papers, Domestic (London, various dates), and the 
Calendar of State Papers America and West Indies (London, 
various dates), all contain pertinent and necessary informa- 

The two publications of J. Bryan Grimes, Abstract of 
North Carolina Wills (Raleigh, 1910) , and North Carolina 
Wills and Inventories (Raleigh, 1912), are helpful in the 
determination of the life spans of some of the participants in 
Culpeper's rebellion. Stray capsules of useful information 
were discovered in The Virginia Magazine of History and 
Biography, The William and Mary Quarterly, and The Jour- 
nals of the House of Burgesses (Richmond, various dates). 
Incidentally, Edmund Jennings' comment on the penchant 
of the Quakers for fostering "Commotions" in early Carolina 
is included in a letter to "My Lord," September 28, 1708 
in the Preston Davie Collection in the Southern Historical 
Collection, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 

Upheaval in Albemarle 87 

These, then, are the major sources from which this ac- 
count of Culpeper's rebellion has been taken. There are 
some thin areas, but the necessary information is buried 
deep in English archives and until a thorough search is 
made of those repositories, it seems unlikely that the final 
word on the revolt will be disclosed.